Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflection on 2008

Got this from Amy and thought it would be a good way to reflect on 2008 instead of the standard post. (The pictures have nothing to do with my answers... just wanted to "decorate" my post!)

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Learning. This year has been such a learning experience. I learned so much about food, health, and being a more consistent parent. I have tried to learn from my mistakes and look at the bigger picture - not just how something might affect me. I also learned that I don't have to be a supermom (even though I'm still a work in progress on keeping my daily priorities straight ~ I'd rather sit and blog than do dishes! LOL!) Most of all, I realized how blessed I am with the family and church family I am surrounded by. God has blessed me with such a supportive, understanding group of people. I am SO BLESSED.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Even with all of the food allergy learning and trials, I would have to say that being consistent in discipline has been a constant struggle. Both Will and Nathan like to push it to the limit, but in different ways. Nathan just plainly ignores us (as if he didn't hear us) and Will can be outright defiant. It has been extremely challenging to me to put the right discipline in place for the "crime". (A spanking isn't appropriate for every misdeed and a nose in the corner doesn't cut it for others...)

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Cooking from scratch and learning more about nutrition. Cooking dairy-free /egg-free was quite daunting at first, but after I got the basics down it wasn't so bad. I've learned how to cook more from scratch and in the process learned more about feeding my family better foods in general. Granted I still love to cook casseroles and comfort food, but we're making small improvements as we go and it really has been a wonderful experience.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

Figuring out how and what to do when Will disobeyed at school. Bringing a third adult party into his daily life was unexpectedly difficult for me. I wanted him to obey his teachers, but I also wanted to make sure the teachers weren't being too hard on him. It is difficult for me to watch my children struggle, but struggle builds a character as long as they can learn from it. I realized that it's my job to LET him struggle a bit so that he CAN learn. Will is growing up right before my eyes. They all are, but he'll always be the first to make me learn new parenting skill. {grin} Poor little guinea pig!

5. Pick three words to describe 2008.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2008 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).



7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2008 (again, without asking).


8. What were the best books you read this year?

The Tightwad Gazette, Child Training Tips, Mitten Strings for God

not a book...
but the internet has been a wonderful tool for recipes and alternate food choices.

I wish I had spent more time in the Bible.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

Jeff and my boys.

My church family.


10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

Letting go of things needing to be done a certain way. Even if the shirts are hung up inside out... at least they are on a hanger and not stuck in the laundry basket wrinkled.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

Becoming more
comfortable in my role as a parent... not that I'm completely comfortable or that I have all the right answers. Parenting is such an emotional roller-coaster. I had no idea... and it's just beginning. Parenting a 6 year old is so very different than parenting a (mostly) obedient toddler. The give and take. Making the hard choices. Discipline.

Parenting i
s not easy.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

I've really become more aware of how little we talk about God in our home. He is a part of our family unit and we should talk about Him more than we do. Yes, we pray before meals and before we go to sleep, etc., but we're been lacking in other areas of just day-to-day living. My main growth has been bringing God into my daily instruction with the boys; explaining how God wants us to behave and to obey Him. My plan is to get out the bible and read the corresponding scriptures with the boys to emphasize that it is God's will that we obey. There are reasons for the way we live, teach, and worship. It's all laid out; we just have to be willing to learn what is planned for us. Just getting back to the basics in teaching the boys has helped me grow and be more mindful of God's plan.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

Ugh. This is an awful question. I have not exercised; I have not lost weight. In fact I gained an extra 15 pounds this year. Dairy free does not mean calorie free! :) One good physical growth has been my hair. I plan on cutting it around February and sending it off for Locks of Love. This will probably be the only time in my life that I will do this as I don't see myself growing it out this long ever again.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

This has been a great year for me in the friendship department! Tammy and I have become really close online friends and I hope that we'll be able to get together again soon. She makes me laugh and cry. She's my BFF!

I rekindled some old friendships through Facebook. I've gotten back in touch with many early childhood friends and high school friends. It's been wonderful to see pictures of their spouses and children. To hear about their ups and downs and to realize that no one is perfect. I just might feel a little less self-conscious at my next high school reunion! :)

Jeff and I have a very strong marriage. We have great communication and we've had to learn balance in keeping up with the kids and having our own time as well. It's constant work, but it's good work and it's rewarding to be so in love with my spouse.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

Organizing. I love organizing, but Jeff was right when he said, "Getting organized is the easy part; staying organized is the hard part." So true. so true.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

Staying organized! HA HA HA!!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Reading blogs. Although they are a great source of information and support, there has been too much time wasted on them. The last month or so, though, I have been coming closer to a better balance. I'm realizing that I just can't answer every comment and I don't have time to visit every visitor. I'd love to, but I just can't. I've also become more picky about what I blog about. I feel like my blog is becoming more of a journal for me than a record of just what we do. That's ok... it's my blog. And it's ok if I lose readers - the most important things I need to be doing during the day are raising, training, and loving my children... not keeping up with the bloggy Jones'. ;)

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Our mornings are always one of my favorite times of the day. If the boys aren't up, Jeff and I will enjoy a cup of coffee in bed just chatting. If the boys are up, we're all in our bed chatting. Well, Will is mostly chatting (he's always got a lot to say!). :) Jeff and I also fell into a weekly lunch date. My MIL comes once a week to watch the boys while I run errands and we have been able to work in a lunch date during my errand time most weeks. It's been wonderful to have an extra few minutes alone with the person I love most.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

I really do love being a stay-at-home mom.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2008 for you.

Our best year yet.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I received my Lily J Designs' jewelry in the mail (some time ago!) and wanted to share my utmost satisfaction with you!

Priority shipped and Packaged well!

Cute, cute, cute pink boxes!! (The pictures just don't do them justice.)

My pretty turquoise pendant! Can't wait to find a chain for it! Isn't it beautiful?! I love turquoise.

And this was a splurge... both a necklace and earrings! I love, love, love the pendant and get so many compliments when I wear it. I've worn it with a cream shirt and a burgundy colored shirt. It is just stunning and so much more versatile in color-coordination than I thought it would be.

My suggestion is that you head on over to Lily J Designs and do some shopping of your own! You will not be disappointed!

just an FYI... I received no compensation for this review. These are my honest opinions and I just wanted to share! :)

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Best News Ever... well, ALMOST the Best

This past week, we received a call from Witt's allergist with the RAST blood test results.

Initially, the only information the nurse was going to give me was that:


Now, let me do a little explaining here for those of you going... "HUH? How can it all be negative when his back whelped up like that?"

Here's my layman understanding (allergy moms... help me out here if I get it wrong)... The scratch test is like a Yes/No test and the blood test gives the severity (fast or slow reaction).

So, although he is still allergic, the severity has lessened from last year.

It's well documented here in my blog that I'm not really thrilled with the allergist's office staff or the nursing staff, but the allergist is the best in the area so we stay. Like I said, the only information the nurse was going to give me is that everything was negative.

I probed further about the milk. (I don't know why I didn't ask about the eggs or peanut. Excitement I suppose.)

Anyway, I asked what the level comparison was from this year to last for milk. She said that last year his level was 0.66 and that this year it was "less than 0.35". I don't know what the units are or exactly what that measures, but it DROPPED IN HALF, people! HALF!

(Update... ie...Forgot to include this: His IgE level for milk was 62. I don't know what this means, but the nurse said that it just tells her that he's allergic. She didn't give the severity level.)

Does this mean he may no longer be anaphylactic to milk? (I'm certainly not going to test it out, but I am hopeful!)

I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but I really can't help it even though I've read stories of people who have had similar reductions one year just to triple the following year.

The allergist's recommendations are to continue to avoid milk, eggs, and peanut.

I also asked why the control on his scratch test was puffy and the nurse said that they want it to do that because it tells them that it was a good test. Interesting. Having a chemistry and engineering background leaves me with so many questions about that... how does one scratch ensure that another is good? If one control is not puffy and the other is, do you re-administer the entire test or is one supposed to be puffy and the other not (like Witt's)? Just plain curiosity on my part here.

Allergy moms (and past allergy moms)... what are the questions you ask regarding the tests? I know allergy testing is not an exact science, but this is only our second test and I'm not sure I'm asking enough questions or the right ones. Does it really matter in the end as I'll be avoiding the foods just the same? Thanks for your help!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Our poor tree. The boys have mutilated it this year. We opted for no ornaments after they broke my strand of "cranberries". The only ornaments on the tree this year are the ones Will brought home from school and the few we received as gifts prior to Christmas. Again... poor tree.

We left a frosty mug of soy milk and some cookies for Santa. A pile of carrots for the eight reindeer and a red apple for Rudolph, per Will's request. :)

Santa sure did work some magic on our tree! It sure looks beautiful now! :)

He and the reindeer enjoyed their cookies and left a thank-you note behind.

He stuck three swords in our tree...

And loaded the boys with presents!

We had some friends and family send us money to get the boys some gifts and I thought this would be the easiest place to let them see what they got the boys. :)

From Deborah to Nathan:

From Deborah to Will:

From Deborah to Wittman:

(The truck is a combo gift from Deborah, Jeff & me.)

From Nana & Grampa to Nathan:

From Nana & Grampa to William:

From Nana & Grampa to Wittman:

A few highlights from Santa:

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