Monday, October 31, 2011

Please Mrs. First Lady, may I be the parent in my home?

french fries

Yesterday we went on a short road trip.  Jim’s aunt and uncle were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and there was an open house in their honor in Newberg.  That’s about 3 1/2 hours from home.   With other commitments already on the calendar for part of the weekend, we opted to make it a day trip.  Leaving in the morning at the same time we’d normally leave for church, we got to Newberg about 1pm, just in time to change into ‘reception clothes’ and head over to the party.  We loved it and had a great time catching up with everyone.  Ryan and Logan were in heaven—an afternoon with their cousins is always high on their list of favorites.

So why the french fries in the picture?  Well, on the way home we stopped for dinner.  Nothing fancy, and as a matter of fact, we let the boys choose since they’d be so cooperative and well-behaved all day.  (Being allowed to choose is a special treat.  We don’t reward for expected behavior, but yesterday, with just over 6 hours in the car, it was appropriate to take their input into account.)  Their choice?  McDonalds, of course. It’s definitely not my favorite, but on the rare occasions we eat fast food I can deal with it. 

The boys LOVE Happy Meals.  They eat the food.  They love the toys.  They think the french fries are pretty delicious.  And roughly 2 ounces of french fries (maybe 30 or so fries) really isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things.  I mean really—they eat healthily every day.  A treat once in a while should be just that:  a treat.  Yeah.  Not so much any more.  McDonalds has cut the amount of fries in their Happy Meals to just over 1 ounce, or approximately 14 fries.  (Yes, I counted.  Both containers.)  Instead, you get apple slices with your meal now.  Ummm….really?  REALLY?  When did I lose my ability to make decisions for my children?  And apple slices?  Are they organic apples?  What preservative was used so they’d stay pretty and white all sliced in their cellophane bag? And how about that caramel sauce handed out with it?  Doesn’t the sugar content and the calories of THAT treat roughly equal that of 15 fries?  It’s such a crock.  And to make things even better, when they were done, they were still hungry so we bought some McFlurrys for the road.  NOT how we would choose to do things, and certainly not healthy.  From this point forward, on the rare occasions we eat at McDonalds, they’ll now be sharing an ‘adult’ meal instead of having Happy Meals.  More food to keep tummies happy, and cheaper too.  I guess I’ll be grateful for that.

I have 2 little boys.  LITTLE boys.  One of them is barely on the weight chart for his age, having just cracked the 7th percentile.  The other is larger, but still only in the 45th percentile for his age.  Their consumption of McDonalds fries as an occasional treat will not make them obese.  Heavens…if it would put some weight on my littler guy, I’d buy them more often!  As it is, we struggle to help him gain weight.  Cutting his caloric intake is definitely not on my radar!  I’d appreciate being able to make those decisions myself, based on the needs in my family.   

It’s a sorry state of affairs when school recesses are being canceled, the ability to walk and play and run and ride bikes is seriously curtailed due to ‘safety concerns’ and work schedules and the primary approach to childhood obesity is to remove a parent’s freedom to choose how to feed their children.    I laughed when I saw Jimi Hendrix’s quote that says

“I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.”

There’s a hint of truth in it, for sure.  And I think that Dwight D. Eisenhower hit it in his State of the Union address in February 1953:

“To be true to one’s own freedom is, in essence, to honor and respect the freedom of all others.”

So please, Mrs. First Lady, can you please keep your hands…and your laws…out of my feeding of my children?  Will you please respect and honor my freedom?  No one forces people to eat McDonalds fries!  But when you restrict them, you are limiting my freedom.  There HAS to be a better way than dictating what our children can and cannot eat!

*Note:  I am far less frustrated and angry than I was last night.  :)  The whole thing is incredibly stupid, and it’s hit a hot button with me.  Ridiculous laws that don’t address the root cause of the problem (High fructose corn syrup, anyone?  How about excessive consumption of carbohydrates?  And don’t get me started on ‘fat free’ foods like sour cream and cream cheese…how on earth can all those chemicals be good for us???) only serve to perpetuate the issue.  Until we learn to eat foods that remember where they came from, foods that were lovingly made with fresh ingredients in home kitchens, and spend more time outside running, jumping, playing, and working like we used to, the problem will continue to grow.

Whew!  I feel better now.  Thanks for letting me vent.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today’s news:  61 months and 2 bone marrow transplants after his original diagnosis of ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia), my nephew Nicholas is CANCER-FREE!!   His blood work and bone marrow are completely free of any signs of leukemia.  PRAISE GOD!!

Thanks for praying with us and for him over the years.  ‘Grateful‘ doesn’t even begin to cover it…

Monday, October 17, 2011

another great article!

Katie is getting famous.  :)  (Just preparing her for life as a top notch Division I basketball player!)  There’s been another article published about her and her family…you can read it here. 

And while you read it, you can rejoice with us!  She’s finished her first round of treatment.  She’s feeling better and hopes to get back to school sometime soon.  The doctors are thrilled with the way she’s responding to treatment.  The road is still long and there’s still a need for prayer, but today is a day of rejoicing and praise!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

crazy days

Life right now is crazy…bordering on overwhelming.  As a matter of fact, I told Jim yesterday that when life is so busy I only have time to do the grocery shopping on Saturday, I’ve got too much on my plate!  I know it will slow down, and even more than that I am painfully aware of how much I will miss some of this next fall.  In the meantime, I’m just hanging on, hoping to avoid a total meltdown.

Tomorrow is Monday. And it’s back to the grindstone (so to speak, anyway).  Here’s typical week for us:

  • Monday:  laundry, school, speech therapy, high school student here, volleyball
  • Tuesday:  school, teach preschool, speech therapy, occupational therapy, errands
  • Wednesday:  clean house, laundry, school, grocery store, high school student here, volleyball
  • Thursday:  school, speech therapy (3 hour trip, as it’s 45 miles to therapy this day), small group
  • Friday:  tidy house, vacuum and mop, laundry, finish any incomplete school for the week, relax (maybe.  hopefully)

Then there are this week’s bonuses:   tomorrow we get to add a doctor’s appointment for Tori, hoping that she’ll be cleared to retun to play volleyball again.  Tuesday we have a couple errands on the docket that are critical and must be done on Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday are ‘normal’ days; Friday is Logan’s 7th birthday and I have the honor of taking dinner to some friends.  Saturday is an all day volleyball tournament about 30 miles north of here and a birthday dinner for Logan.  Somewhere in all this I have to get out my sewing machine and finish his birthday gifts, or he’ll be having a present-less birthday.

It can feel way overwhelming.  Some of it is a huge challenge.  Speech therapy, at about 3 hours a week for actual therapy plus the additional practice daily at home, takes a gigantic chunk of time.  Thursdays especially, since it’s an hour each direction.  It shoots most of the day for us.  I get frustrated by it, but I have to remind myself that we are here because God chose this child for our family.  He placed this young man here, in our home.  He trusts us to care for this little boy, to advocate for him and to give him the best we have.  I often remind myself of Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  The reminder that all this is to honor God doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but it sure helps keep my attitude in check! 

The next thing to go on the calendar is for me.  I hope to get another weekend away for myself sometime soon.  I can feel myself getting raggedy around the edges and know that I need time to recoup.  The calendar is pretty full, but somehow I’m going to fit it in.  Soon, I hope!  Refreshment for my soul has to be part of the schedule, or I can’t keep up the pace.  It comes in applying Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days aright,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Numbering my days aright to gain a heart of wisdom?  Sounds worth the effort me…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

field trip!

Monday we spent the day at the zoo.  The weather was less than delightful, but the company was perfect and the boys had an incredibly good time.  They loved having an older friend along, and were thrilled to meet up with Rachel and her mom Anne.  As a bonus, we saw some families from church who homeschool…families with students the same age as the boys.  I knew one family did, but the other was a surprise.  How fun for the boys to see that one of their little buddies was home too!  Now maybe we’ll have the opportunity for some playdates.  :)



















Friday, October 7, 2011


I came to an awkward realization a few weeks ago:

I have become my mother.

It’s not a bad thing.  It does feel strange.  It hit me last month when I was at Costco.  I was buying groceries like normal and passed the chocolate covered almonds (yum!).  I looked at them for a brief moment, then decided I would wait.  After all, Emily loves them and she was going to be home from school the following weekend.  I’d wait ‘til she was home, take her to Costco, and buy her a container to take back to school.  Almost as soon as I finished the thought, I realized that it was exactly the type of thing my mother used to do.  Still does, as a matter of fact.  And I laughed. 

I remember the first time I ever thought I was turning into my mother.  Brent was probably about 5 or 6, and we were headed someplace in the car.  Someone said something, and my immediate response was something my mother would say.  I took a deep breath in and tried to come to terms with the thought.  I was too young to be her!  It wasn’t fair.  Then I realized…there are far worse things in life!  I let go of the concern and went on with life.

Now Brent is 22, and I’m becoming more like Mom all the time.  I say the same things she would.  We like the same kinds of things.  We have some of the same hobbies (but she’s a far better quilter than I).  Our mannerisms are very similar.  Heavens…we cook the same dinner several nights a week without talking about it!   The whole thing just makes me laugh.

Mom turned 70 last week.  We had a birthday dinner to celebrate.  While she was here, I watched her.  And something dawned on me.  Becoming my mother is a good thing!  She’s all the things I want to be when I grow up.  She loves her children and grandchildren unconditionally.  She’s involved in their lives—everything from watching their sporting events to reading them books for the 897th time.  She’s generous (to a fault, my dad might say!).  She gives from her heart.  She’s fun to be with.  She is genuine and loves people.  She talks lots but listens well and remembers much.  She and Dad will celebrate their 48th anniversary in December.  Dad’s been retired for over 20 years, and she still enjoys having him around.  :) 

feb 2010 cruise 056

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” ~Proverbs 16:31

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  ~Proverbs 31:30

Thanks Mom!  It is a privilege to call you Mom and role model.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

more about Katie

I know I posted a picture of Katie last week and a little bit about what is going on with her.  She still needs our prayers!  She’s home now, going in every morning for outpatient treatment.  Each day gets a bit worse, and according to her, yesterday’s treatment was brutal.  She’s dealing with headaches and intense nausea. She’s got a cold, which keeps her feeling crummy.  Her immune system isn’t healthy enough to fight it off, so it keeps dragging on.   Overall, she’s just kinda miserable.

But there’s another side to Katie, one that I didn’t share.  She’s an incredibly gifted athlete.  This article was published yesterday by ESPN, on their college sports site.  Check it out.  Learn a bit more about our friend, and keep her in your prayers.   They are greatly appreciated.