Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our diet

Since January Ram and I have attempted to eat mostly gluten free and are on our way to eating mostly Paleo. I would guess our meals are 75% Paleo now. The last few years we have exercised at least 3 times a week beginning in the spring and going through fall as part of our health insurance rewards program.

When we began in January I didn't notice much difference by eating gluten free, not in how I felt and I didn't lose even half a pound. Because there wasn't much progress I began to cheat. Our meals followed our diet but I cheated sometimes when we were at church events or snacks. Ram felt so much better with our new diet that he rarely cheated.

In June we didn't plan this, but I got more exercise because it was summer and our meals were a little healthier as it is easier to get fresh fruits and veggies. I lost about 17 lbs between January and July. If I can lose 4 more lbs before my birthday, I will weigh less at age 40 than I did at age 30, and less than I did before I became pregnant with Lamb 1. This was the progress I needed to see to make it less likely for me to cheat. I still don't notice a difference in how I feel when I eat wheat or when I don't. My clothes don't look like I lost as much weight as I did, but they aren't as tight as they were and I can wear a few outfits that I hadn't worn for about 10 years. I didn't really change pants size though. I do give myself a break here because I have been pregnant so many times in the last 10 years.

In July Ram needed to buy all new pants for work as none of his fit him any more. He has been so many sizes in the past few years-skinny before his surgery in 2010, gained some weight after his surgery, and lost some weight now with our new diet. Besides his work pants he just made his belt a little tighter. I would guess he lost about 20 lbs. Then a couple of weeks ago he was standing up and his pajama pants started to fall off him. It was funny until I realized that almost all of his pajamas were purchased before we were married and now he needed all new pajamas. So last Friday it was off to Kohls to use my coupons and get him new pajama pants. He bought ones with a drawstring and just 2 pairs in case these don't fit him long. It is exactly like Lamb 1-to be long enough they are too big in the waist. I may need to sew Ram new pajamas like I did for Lamb 1 if Ram loses any more weight.

I decided to buy myself a new pair of jeans while we were there to celebrate my success-even if I didn't need to buy a different size. I'm not rushing out to buy a new wardrobe. I'm not sure if this is my weight I will stay at or if I will lose more. And I rediscovered some of my favorite clothes at the back of my closet that fit me again.

I don't have any pictures to post here like other blogs do with huge pants on a skinny person after they began eating Paleo. Even Ram doesn't look like those photos. But he feels so much better by eating this way that he will continue. Even though we don't look like those photos and some wouldn't notice that I lost any weight, we know it and Ram did need to buy new pants. For all those reasons we'll continue to eat this way the majority of the time. Thankfully since we aren't doing this for medical reasons, we can occasionally splurge on foods that aren't on the diet.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Fire-Part 4-The little blessings

Recently I have tried during stressful times to look for the little blessings in the middle of the stressful time. Our life was pretty crazy during the few days of the fire affecting Ram's parents. Here were some little blessings that I thanked God for during that long weekend.
*Because we went to Ram's parents for vacation for a few days, my house was in pretty good shape after being a mess most of this summer. Thank you mom, for teaching me to do some basic cleaning before vacations!
*Because Ram's parents left after dark and got to our house at 2 am, I had notice to clean up the guest room and clean the bathrooms.
*There happens to be a cat "hotel" down the street from us and they had room for Yoda so the cat only had to stay at our house one night. Yoda appreciated that there were only cats, not dogs here.
*A great group of women that I scrapbook with all heard my story that first night and started praying for Ram's parents when I went to scrapbooking that night.
*Before my parents visited we installed a ceiling fan in the guest bedroom.
*Because my parents visited this summer the Lambs had some practice of how to behave when guests are in the house.
*Before we left for our short vacation we bought 4 dozen eggs. They weren't on sale and we normally only buy 2 dozen. Those eggs came in handy for breakfast and we used all of them in the few days his parents were here. 
*His parents eat Paleo and dairy free ice cream (sorbet) was on sale while they were here and I stocked up.
*The beginning of August was very busy for us. The weekend of the fire was a remarkably free schedule for us.
*Ram's parents had never stayed at our house since we moved here. Sometimes they bring their camper and camp when they visit us and other times his dad works at his office in our town and work pays for their hotel room. When my parents visited the Lambs were so out of routine for a few weeks that their behavior was terrible some days. On top of that Lamb 2's rash really bothered him while my parents visited. I was mildly concerned about the Lambs behavior with Ram's parents moving in with us for as long as they needed and we didn't know how long that would be.
Lamb 2 had a break from a rash all the days that Ram's parents were here! The boys were wild when we were all in the minivan together a few times (both up around Ram's parents town and around our town), but they were remarkably good at home. They really tried to use inside voices and go upstairs to play when the adults were downstairs. They were typical boys and had their moments, but it was a lot better than when my parents visited.
On Monday I took the Lambs to Kung Fu and Ram and his parents ate supper by themselves. While we were gone Ram's dad told him he had a nice family. That meant so much to me that we didn't drive them crazy over those few days.
*Of course it was a blessing to have a few extra days to spend with Ram's parents that we hadn't expected.

Of course we wanted Ram's parents to stay here during the fire. I thank God that their staying here went as well as it did. Part of the reason that it went as well as it did was all those little blessings added up like not needing to run to the store for eggs the next morning after being up until 2am. 

The pre-evacuation and mandatory evacuation status has been lifted for Ram's parents now. Soon I'll wash the guest bed sheets and this fire will just be in our memories. Ram's parents will deal with smoke for awhile but the real danger to their house is done now. We thank God that the firefighters did their jobs and they were able to go home after just a few days here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Fire Part 3

The amazing firefighters now have our fire 47% contained!

Some other statistics currently:

Firefighters: 1,721 (some had to leave to fight other fires)

Size of fire: 108,094 acres

Estimated Containment Date: Saturday, August 31

I am from the Midwest so I had never seen wildfire firefighting. When I mentioned that to Ram, he said he never saw a fire so big or near their house either. It was fascinating to me how many tents (and Thursday night when we saw it was just a fraction of what came later). The news showed when they came off duty the lines to eat and to wash up before bed. It is mind boggling to feed and tent that many firefighters at one place for weeks while there is a fire nearby.

The Blaine County Sheriff is collecting bandanas for the firefighters. What began as a plea for one bandana for one firefighter has now turned into the community donating enough bandanas for one for each firefighter and more keep coming in. We are so thankful to the firefighters for getting this massive fire contained so quickly. The least we can do is give them bandanas for their shift. The firefighters also continue to be in our prayers.

Only one house and a few other structures were lost in this fire. The firefighters feel so bad about that one house because that is one house too many in their minds. I feel so bad for the owners of that one house. We don't know who that one house belongs to, but they are in our prayers. (Beaver Creek Fire) has more information on this fire for those that are interested.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Fire part 2

Ram's parents arrived at our house at 2am Friday night. We helped them unload some things and got Yoda, their cat, settled in. My mom is allergic to cats so we never had a cat. The next morning the Lambs were thrilled that Yoda was at our house. Yoda is an old cat and wasn't quite sure what to think of our house or those boys that he saw on Thursday were at this new place.

Later that morning Ram's dad took Yoda to a cat hotel for a few days. They were glad to find a place that just took cats, no dogs.
Saturday afternoon we heard that the mandatory evacuation for their house was down leveled to pre evacuation. Ram's dad decided to go back to the house then. Ram's mom stayed with us. Ram's dad went back and moved firewood and other flammable things away from the house. He stayed at an apartment across town but it did not have air conditioning and because of the smoke he couldn't open the windows.
Saturday we had an un-birthday party to attend (that's another post) and afterwards we went with Ram's mom to Sizzler for dinner. Everything had been so crazy there was no time to cook. The Lambs love Sizzler and were happy with that dinner.
Sunday evening Ram's dad came back to our house in time to join us for hamburgers for dinner. He was glad to take a shower and go to bed early in air conditioning.
Monday the Lambs had Kung Fu (that's another post) so Ram's parents ate dinner with Ram and when we got home we ate. They heard from a neighbor that everything was much improved in their neighborhood by Monday afternoon. We listened online to the community meeting that night to get more information.
So Tuesday morning they packed up everything and left our house about noon. They did a little shopping since they were here and then got the cat and headed home. They are still pre evacuation status for at least a few more days. It is smoky, they can't open windows, and they have to leave their car packed up ready to go. But at least they got to go home and try to resume a normal schedule and sleep in their own bed.

To be continued... (I have a little more to blog about the fire, but this completes our side of the story.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Fire Part 1

Life has been stressful and wild here the past few days and this was my first chance to blog about it.
Thursday after Lamb 2 and 3 had speech therapy, we headed up to Ram's parents house for a few days vacation after a very busy summer. On the way there we got a text that the Sun Valley concert was canceled because of smoke so we didn't need to hurry up there.
We made the best of it. We couldn't go outside because of the smoke so we ate the picnic food that Ram's mom had prepared inside. We had chicken, fruit kabobs, and veggies with salsa or guacamole. It was delicious and more fun to eat like a picnic.
Picnic INSIDE Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Afterwards we watched the Mozart Concerto No. 21 for piano on YouTube that we were supposed to hear Sun Valley Symphony play. Then because we didn't go to the concert we had ice cream-we wouldn't have had that at the Symphony!

Then we all piled in our van and drove around to see the wildfire. I am from the Midwest and had never seen a firefighter camp or helicopters drop retardant etc. It was fascinating for me. Later they asked on the news to not drive by/take pictures/stop on the side of the road so they could get some work done, but at this point they hadn't asked that yet. Here is a photo that I took on Thursday night. This was probably 1 and 1/2 miles north of Ram's parents house. You may be able to pick out a few hot spots, it is smoky and difficult to see in this photo. Planes kept dropping until sunset, this was about an hour before sunset.

Ram's parents assured us that usually it is smoky in the morning but the smoke starts to clear about noon during wildfires in the area. (They were remembering the Castle Rock Fire of 2007 etc.) So we stayed inside Friday morning and were planning what to do Friday afternoon. About noon Ram's dad announced that we should pack up and go home immediately. We ate lunch and packed up and left town about 2pm. Every business had signs thanking the firefighters like this:

On the way home I called my scrapbook consultant and said I had not planned on going to scrapbooking but since we came home early could I go? She made room for me and I went to scrapbooking. After I was there about 2 hours Ram called me and said his parents were immediately coming to our house. I left scrapbooking to come home to get the guest room ready and bathroom cleaned etc. I didn't get much scrapbooking done that night!

As soon as we left their house Ram's parents started packing. I can't even imagine, how do you choose what is important enough to take with you in case you come home and there is no house any more? Ram's mom drove their car and Ram's dad drove his pickup truck with a trailer attached. They packed what they could and left about 9:30pm. When they got across town they had forgotten something and went back. It is a 3 hour drive from their house in good weather and they were going in the dark with a lot of other cars that were evacuated. They along with their cat arrived at 2am at our house. They were mandatory evacuated so we were glad they were already here.

To be continued... (Don't worry their house and they are safe now.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One Thing's Needful

For the He Remembers the Barren Retreat, we were asked to bring a gift that cost less than $5 that was helpful to us in our time of being barren. I found a journal with a Bible verse on it at Tuesday Morning for my gift. Many gifts were plants or flowers but I couldn't fly home with that. So I was glad that the gift I received was easy to take home.
One of the women made this picture with this hymn verse. I love having a reminder to look at every day both to remember the ladies at the retreat in my prayers and to have the reminder of what One thing is needful. My heart is often fretting but all is loss except that Christ I may obtain.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Non dairy whipped cream

When Lamb 1 couldn't have dairy and I was nursing him so I couldn't either, we bought RichWhip non dairy topping. This actually worked quite well for living rural. The store 1 and 1/2 hours away carried it and it was frozen. I kept about 4 in the freezer at all times and when I needed one whipped it up. I didn't care about the ingredients more than knowing it didn't have any dairy or soy. We figured it was for a temporary time as Lamb 1 was supposed to outgrow it. We had given up so much by giving up dairy and soy and couldn't imagine life without something like whipped cream.
After Lamb 1 outgrew his dairy problems we spent a lot of money on real whipping cream. Costco in the Twin Cities sold it by the half gallon in packs of two so we were really happy when we got there. We made homemade ice cream a couple of times a week. We were glad to not be eating the "fake" whipped cream any more.
Then we moved here and Costco is 20 minutes away but does not carry whipped cream in half gallons. Quarts are more expensive than half gallons were in the Twin Cities. We cut back out of financial necessity.
Then about a year ago Ram's mom started talking us into eating paleo which would mean no dairy which would mean no whipped cream. Sometimes we splurge and buy Coconut Bliss "ice cream". But we haven't bought whipping cream for a long time.
Last week I got a bunch of strawberries and peaches and wanted to make strawberry shortcake. One of my paleo cookbooks has a shortcake recipe. But what were we going to do about whipped cream? Should I cheat and buy the whipping cream just for the strawberry shortcake?
I found a trick on the internet that I can't believe none of my paleo cookbooks mentioned. I made this and it reminded me of Cool Whip, but better!

Refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk at least overnight. Open the bottom of a can of coconut milk and pour off the liquid. Scoop the coconut cream into a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until it is the consistency of whipped cream. Add vanilla and honey to taste and beat until combined.

I can imagine for some desserts adding cinnamon or other spices or flavors. I used my regular mixer with the beater that is like a wire whip and it worked fine. I refrigerated mine upside down, don't know if that is necessary, but it worked for me. I used the liquid left over in a smoothie the next day.

Note: I know coconut milk is expensive and also most brands have guar gum. We are not having this kind of whipped cream every day. I figure we can splurge on this sometimes to have some special desserts.

So did those of you that eat non dairy know about homemade coconut milk whipped cream?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Realizing I'm blessed

I went to scrapbooking on Wednesday. There were just a few of us as it was the middle of the week. The consultant embarrassed me that she kept pointing out to everyone there that I was an album maker, not a scrapbooker. I get my photos chronologically in the album and journal about the photos. I don't use a lot of paper or stickers or embellishments. I figure since we have all boys, they won't care much about the fancy stuff, but their wives will eventually want to see the pictures. Plus the boys do like to look at their baby photos.

So I showed my album that I was working on to almost everyone that was there on Wednesday. Near the end of our time together a woman that attends pretty often but I don't know well said something to me.

"You have a beautiful family, Ewe."

That's all she said. Sometimes the little comments matter the most.

Sometimes I'm so focused on what I don't have. I won't see Ram's two brothers, my miscarried babies, and my grandparents again until I get to heaven. I've never met my brother-in-law and it will be at least several months before I have a chance. I don't have girls. My boys don't have a big extended family with lots of cousins. I live far away from my parents and sister. My Lambs are growing up and outgrowing toys and clothes that I wish they would stay in forever. My list like this goes on and on.

Yet, I am blessed with a beautiful family! A woman I barely know noticed this blessing. Some day I will see my loved ones in heaven and I will be able to meet my 8 babies and see what they look like. My sister is married to a wonderful husband for her. I have a beautiful goddaughter. My boys have friends all over the country. My parents just spent nearly a month driving out here to visit and spend time with us. Ram is a wonderful husband. I have 3 handsome Lambs. My Lambs are healthy enough to outgrow clothes and I will have memories and photos of them at the toddler age. Our family being healthy is a significant blessing that we don't take for granted after Ram's surgery in 2010. My Lambs are learning more and doing new experiences in the next stage in their lives. My list like this goes on and on when I think about it.

Thank you, Jesus, for my beautiful family. Help me to remember that I am blessed with a beautiful family. Help me also to make those little comments to others that will matter in their lives.

Friday, August 9, 2013


July 5, 2013
August 9, 1969
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Enjoy your date tonight!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

He Remembers the Barren Retreat

This has been a busy week since I returned from Saint Louis from the first He Remembers the Barren Retreat. I really do want to blog about my trip and some of my thoughts about the retreat. I don't know when I will get to that, but Katie has blogged some about it. She is a much better writer than I am so I'll send you to the blog first.

Here she blogged her reflections of the retreat. I would second that the group got along wonderfully and listened and supported each other wonderfully. It is wonderful to know 9 other women well enough now to have specific prayer requests for each of them now that we returned home.
Here she gives a glimpse of one of the meaningful parts of Dr. Gosser's time with us.
Here she gives a glimpse of one of the meaningful parts of Pastor Cholak's time with us. I will never read that story of Peter again without thinking of our time at the retreat and what Rev. Cholak said.

I was one of the first to arrive at the retreat. While I was helping them set up the generosity of all those that helped with this retreat made me cry. We had many thank you notes to sign while we were at the retreat for people that helped with the retreat. Many tissues were used at this retreat and a big portion of mine were because I didn't expect or know until I went that that there are so many Lutherans (and Christians) that both pray for the barren daily and support us. Some of these are women with many children that mourn for the barren not having children as a blessing like they do. Some of these are older couples that wish they would have had more children. The rest of them have just been made aware of the barren through Katie's book and now include the barren in their daily prayers. That is so comforting that the whole Christian church remembers the barren.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My dream last night

Last night I dreamed that I had not done my calculus math homework. When I went to hurry to finish it, I realized I hadn't done my last 30 assignments. I panicked as I could not finish that much before the next class. I was sure the teacher was going to check homework today!
I have no idea why I dreamed about calculus class after not taking a math class for over 20 years. The only thing I can think of that would trigger this dream was that Lamb 1's math is getting more difficult. But it is definitely 4th grade math, not calculus!