Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 For '10

To celebrate 2010 coming to a close, I thought I would share some highlights from the past year:

1.  We finally find and move into our perfect home.

2.  We discover an amazing school for Lily.

3.  Ryley gets her drivers license and has an up-close and personal encounter with a fence.

      Here is her facebook status after the incident:

      Ryley Rush
Caitlin Lacker invited me to her house with Alemu Martha to watch a Christmas movie, and they came outside just in time to watch me park... on top of their fence. FYI, the gas pedal is on the right and the brake is on the left...
December 23 at 6:06pm 

      In her defense, she wants everyone to know that she was backing up (not just going too fast in the driveway), and prior to demolishing said fence she had been an accident-free and very good driver.

4.  Along Came The Bird, the blog, is born.

5.  Reagan achieves a long time goal and is the proud owner of a pair of pointe shoes.

6.  Ryan spends the bulk of the year writing a book for Tyndale House Publishers.

7.  A brand new special needs ministry is launched at our church.

8.  We discover Guatemala, Hope of Life, Pueblo Modelo, and a little girl named Ellie and our lives are forever changed.

9.  Lily conquers the i-Pad and youtube, quickly falls in love with a rhino, a singing hippo and a dancing dog, as well as a variety of familiar kids songs sung in foreign languages.

10.  I join a wonderful support group of special needs moms who welcome me with open arms and make me look forward to Thursdays in a whole new way.

It's been an incredible journey and while I look ahead with anticipation to 2011, I can't help but think of something a very wise man once said:

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time".  Abraham Lincoln

Amen, brother.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

He Has a Gift

So we braved the mall yesterday evening to exchange a few presents.

Ryan got two shirts and two ties from his parents.  One of the shirts was identical to one he already has so we thought we'd swap it for a different color.

I noticed when we walked in the store that all shirts were buy one, get one free.  A good deal, but since we were there to just exchange and hadn't purchased the shirt in the first place, I logically assumed it wouldn't apply to us.

After helping Ryan choose between two shirts, I left him to pay and took Lily into the mall to zip around in the stroller.

A couple minutes later, out comes Ryan with not one, but two shirts in his bag.

Somehow, using his winning personality and some serious smooth talking, he got the salesman to give him the buy one, get one free deal.

Now, there have been several moments in our marriage when I really don't appreciate Ryan's smooth talking.  Like when we're engaged in an argument.... er... discussion, I mean.

But at this particular moment, I stood there speechless, in awe of his skills.

I really don't understand why this man doesn't like to shop.

If I had that gift, I would be wreaking havoc on the world of retail.  They would be paying me by the time I left the store with bulging shopping bags.

Maybe one day he will teach me the secret....

But probably not.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today I Will...

In case you were wondering why I haven't posted the last few days, Lily has this week off from school so she's hanging with me at the house.  I think there might be a connection between her being home and me posting on the blog.

Just a wild guess....

At the moment, she is playing with the iPad so I have about 2 minutes to tell you everything I'm going to do today.

Today I will....

  1. do all my laundry.
  2. get rid of any socks that do not have a match.
  3. take down all my Christmas decorations.
  4. re-organize the gift wrap shelf in the coat closet.
  5. take all my summer clothes upstairs and bring my winter clothes to my closet.
  6. brave the mall and exchange some Christmas gifts.
  7. make a grocery list.
  8. EAT OUT!
Why am I telling you my to-do list?  

So that I'll actually do it.

Tomorrow, feel free to ask if I finished my list.

I may not get any sleep tonight but there will be no single socks in my home come morning!

Oh wait....

Didn't I just say Lily Bird is home with me this week?

Forget it - we'll just watch TV and eat out.

Sigh.... the things we do for our kids.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

The Rush Family
Ryan & Lana
Ryley, Reagan, & Lily

"We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:14 (NIV)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Clock is Ticking....

In case you're one of those people who still has some shopping to do, I wanted to pass along a very last minute gift idea.

I recently read a wonderful book called "Dancing with Max" by Emily Colson. 

Emily is the daughter of Chuck Colson, a former presidential aide to Richard Nixon and founder of Prison Fellowship.  He is a well-known speaker and radio commentator and has written several books himself.

But this particular book is Emily's story.

And what a story it is.

Emily is a single mom to Max, her 19 year old son with autism. 

Now there are many books out there that speak of children who have recovered from an autism diagnosis.  Those books are exciting to read and give hope to many of us parents.  

But what about the parents whose children keep their diagnosis?  What do you read on days when you're discouraged and heartbroken?  When you just need some encouragement whether or not your child ever recovers from autism?

You read "Dancing with Max".

I love this book because it's real.  It's full of grace, second chances, fresh starts, and unconditional love.

If you know a parent of a special needs child, get them this book.  

You won't only be giving them a book, you'll be giving them the gift of hope.  

And that's the best gift around.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Little Christmas Tour

Since Lily entered my family, I've adopted several new mottos for life.

Things like "I'll do it tomorrow" or "Just let me take a nap".

But my favorite new motto is "Less is more".

We have downsized our home twice.  We gave up a swimming pool.  We gave up sprawling yards with lots of room to roam.  We gave up space between the neighbors' homes and ours.

All in an effort to live by our new motto.

And we love it!

We have made our lives so much easier by ridding ourselves of so much extra "stuff".

I have now carried the "less is more" mentality into my Christmas decorating.  Just enough to look festive, but not so much that I'm tempted to run screaming into the streets, choked by strings of tiny white lights.

I thought you might like a little peek at our simple but happy decorations so welcome to the first ever Rush Family Home Christmas Tour.  Enjoy!

Here is our lovely tree:

This is actually a tree we borrowed from my parents.  Our tree is much wider around the base than this one.  Since I did not really want to remove all the furniture from my living room just to make space for a Christmas tree, this one works quite nicely.  

And we can still sit on the couch.

These are the very first stockings I bought as a new mom.  One for each member of our little family - Ryan, me and Ryley.  Of course, I didn't plan for the future and when Reagan came along, I realized I didn't have a matching stocking for her.  

I thought Christmas was ruined forever.

When Lily came along, I started using my cute stockings again - one for each daughter.  It makes me very happy to see these hanging.  

This is a shot of my dining room table.  You can't see it so well but I got new Christmas dishes last year from my mother-in-law.  They are incredibly cute with red and white polka dots and I have them sitting on green chargers.  And the best part?  I can use them at other times of the year, too - just not with green chargers.

Ryan thinks having more than one set of dishes is an incredible waste of money.  But I didn't ask him.

Every year since the big girls were born, my parents have given them a special Christmas item.  Ryley gets a nativity and Reagan gets an angel.  I usually display all of them but cut back this year because I'm running out of places to put 17 nativities and 14 angels!  You can't really see them in this picture....

so here's a couple close-ups:

Aren't they sweet?  

Mom has started the tradition with Lily now and she receives a cross every year.

You might notice that I have no pictures of the outside of our house.  That's because this year, outdoor lights didn't make it as part of the decor.  I have a nice wreath on the door and that's it.

And you know what?

Christmas is not ruined. 

You will find plenty of homes decorated more elaborately than mine.  With a bigger tree.  Or multiple trees.  Something festive in every room of the house.  And lights galore outside.

But I'm not sure you'll find a more relaxed and happy family this season.

In the (slightly changed) words of cheerleaders everywhere -

"We've got peace,
Yes we do.
We've got peace,
How 'bout you?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

19 Years and Counting

Today, December 21st, is my anniversary.  Ryan and I have been married for 19 years.

In those 19 years, we have....

  • lived in 11 houses in 5 cities - 12 if you count a brief 3 month stay with my parents.
  • been on the staff of 4 churches.
  • birthed 3 daughters.
  • written 2 books.
  • recorded 1 album.
  • had 4 dogs, 2 parakeets, 1 hermit crab, and numerous fish.
  • taught Sunday School, several Disciple Nows, and led many marriage conferences.
  • hosted 2 radio shows and 2 TV spots.
  • said good-bye to 3 wonderful grandparents.
  • driven U-Hauls across the country.
  • been to the White House at Christmastime.
  • been to Disney World 4 times.
  • been to 9 countries (and counting!).
  • cleaned 4 different swimming pools.
  • stood up for issues in the community that resulted in hate mail, crank phone calls, and an ugly email from the Ku Klux Klan - and an unlisted phone number.
  • been to countless dance recitals, drama productions, and basketball games.
  • sold Girl Scout cookies.
  • met famous people, historic figures, and national leaders.
  • hosted 32 children's birthday parties and over 100 giggly girl sleepovers.
  • learned the words to every single song by Barney and the Backyardigans.
  • driven a newspaper route and done some commercial roofing.
  • home-schooled 2 children for 7 years.
And of course....
  • argued about which one of us has the harder job at least 50 times.
I only hope I can survive the next 19 years!

What Do You Eat in a GFCF House?


Chocolate Cupcake


Banana Bread*

*especially delicious item

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's a Wrap!

Some of you may find this hard to believe, but Lily has not grasped the concept that presents are fun.  Tearing paper, digging into a gift bag, and searching for something new and fun is just not something she understands yet.

I was sharing this with a group of special needs moms and one of these super-smart ladies told me how she taught her son what to do with a gift.

She collected several of her son's favorite toys.

Now these were not new toys that she thought he would like.  These were his current favorite toys that she knew he loved, pulled straight out of the toy box.

Here comes the genius part.

She wrapped each of those items individually.

Then she gave her son one of the wrapped packages.

She demonstrated how to take off the bow.  How to tear the paper.  How to open the box.  How to remove tissue paper from a gift bag and peek inside.

When he did look in the box or bag, he was thrilled to find one of his absolute favorite toys inside.

It didn't matter the least bit to him that it wasn't new or not still inside the original packaging.

By doing this over the course of several days, he learned exactly what to do when given a present.  He knew how to open the gift and he knew why - to find something good!

Of course, now this sweet mom can't put any gifts under her tree until Christmas Eve because they'll all be opened otherwise!

But that's a small price to pay to see your child digging into a present, anticipating what he'll discover inside.

I'm going to try this brilliant idea with Lily.

The child I'll really have to watch, though, is Reagan.  She'll be the first to volunteer to tutor Lily in the art of unwrapping.

But it won't be out of the goodness of her heart.

No sir.

It'll be for purely selfish motives.

She'll be handing her own presents off to Lily for the sake of "practice" in an effort to get a sneak peek.

Reagan, if you're reading this..... I'm on to you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Life's Little Mysteries... Christmas Edition

Why is it that....

  • no matter what's inside, kids always seem to like the box better than the actual gift?
  • no matter what their age, kids get wildly excited about a big roll of bubble wrap?
  • when I take the time to make bows, no one even notices?
  • my kids revolt if I even mention decorating the tree "country style"?
  • no matter where I hide gifts, Reagan finds them?
  • I spend money on lovely wrapping paper only to find it ripped off and thrown in the trash?  It's just like firecrackers - watching your money go up in smoke.
  • everyone needs socks and underwear but no one wants to find them in their stockings?
  • a 17 year old can sleep until noon every day of the year except Christmas morning?
  • Reagan knows how to search my computer history to see what gifts I might have ordered online for her but she can't seem to make up her bed?
  • if we don't spend $2000 to have our entire home covered in professionally installed Christmas lights, we look like the Scrooges of our neighborhood?
  • we always have to leave milk and cookies for Santa when he'd much rather have brisket or chips and queso?
  • I can remember the "12 Days of Christmas" but I can't remember what I walked into the kitchen to do?
  • if I suggest making something different for Christmas morning breakfast, my kids act like I just said I don't love them anymore?
  • my husband thinks I'm perfectly capable of handling all our finances but totally inept at putting lights on the tree?
Have some little mysteries around your house?  Let me hear them!
What Do You Eat in a GFCF House?

So Delicious Brand Coconut Milk Yogurt
Scrambled Eggs

Egg Salad Sandwich
Pop Chips

Grilled Salmon
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Wild Rice

Monkey Munch*

*especially delicious item

Friday, December 17, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Would it be ok with you if I have a small pity party for just a little bit?

Thank you for saying yes.

This time of year can be especially difficult when you have a child with special needs.

The wonder and excitement of Christmas is made all the more fun when seen through the eyes of a child.

Anxiously waiting in line to visit with Santa and rattle off their wishes, truly believing this man will come down the chimney when they are fast asleep.

Helping you decorate the Christmas tree, hanging their special ornaments on the lower branches where they can see them.

Making cookies, gingerbread houses, and homemade gifts for grandparents.

Seeing them almost burst with the anticipation of tearing into beautifully wrapped presents.

Sharing the wonderful story of Baby Jesus and watching their hearts grow tender.

All those things your child cannot do or just doesn't get seem all the more magnified during this holiday season.

You can really start to feel sorry for yourself.

So here's what I'm praying for this year.  And I hope you might consider joining me in this prayer.

I want to see a glimpse of understanding in Lily at some point during Christmas.  Just the tiniest glimmer of something that lets me know that just for a moment, she "gets it".

It doesn't have to be anything major.

I'm not expecting her to ask to go see Santa.

Or to tell me the real story of Christmas.

Just something small.

Maybe wanting to open a present.  Or getting really excited about something that we unwrap for her.  Or gazing and really seeing the Christmas lights in our neighborhood when we take a walk at night.

It doesn't even have to last a long time.

Because believe me, I won't miss it if it happens!  I'll be watching for it ever so closely.

 That's all I really want for Christmas.

And I know who to ask.

Will you ask Him for me, too?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Work It!

Today was the last day of school for my two big girls.

Well, the last day of school until January.

In honor of Christmas, they didn't have to wear their uniforms.  The official dress code for the day was tasteful holiday attire or something you would wear to church.

Just thought you might like to see my two "styley" girls!

Here's Ryley - now a full 5 inches taller than me.  Are you seeing the red shoes???  Too cute!

And check Reagan out - 3 inches taller than me and working the belt.

I'd also like to point out that it takes a photographer of my outstanding caliber to capture the meters on the neighbor's house in the pictures, too.

If you'd like to book me to take your family holiday photos, just let me know!

What Do You Eat in a GFCF House?

Cinnamon Toast

Peanut Butter Sandwich
Blueberries and Strawberries

Cowboy Meatloaf and Potatoes
Green Beans

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

As I spend the next few days starting and finishing my Christmas shopping, I find myself thinking back to  gifts I've received through the years.

When I was a kid, I loved to hear myself talk.  So imagine my thrill when I woke up one Christmas morning to find this under the tree:

A genuine cassette recorder.

My mom still has some cassette tapes of me reading books out loud, trying to "teach" my brother, reciting the states and capitals (and missing a few along the way), and just generally blathering on simply to hear the sound of my voice.  I loved that record and playback feature!  And my little brother loves busting out the tapes every now and then to hear me butcher the word Wisconsin.

At one time in my young life, I think I was Barbie's biggest fan.  Though it pains me to admit this, I have a very vivid memory of telling a neighbor friend that if she didn't want to play Barbies, then she could just go home.  Not the best way to win friends and influence people.

One Christmas, I received the mother lode....

image 2069705206-0

The Barbie Townhouse.  Notice the elevator.  It actually moved up and down between the three floors thanks to the cool little pull string.  Very high-tech for the times.

I also had this Barbie swimming pool...

    but I can't remember if I got that for Christmas or not.

    If I ever needed proof that my parents loved me, it would be when I found this under the tree one year.

    Hardy Boys Disco Amp

    Bless my heart, I couldn't carry a tune to save my life.  Yet my parents bought me this Shaun Cassidy disco amplifier, knowing full well that I would grab that microphone and sing "Da Doo Ron Ron Ron Da Doo Ron Ron" at the very top of my lungs.  Thankfully, this was never captured on the cassette player mentioned above.  Look at that adorable Shaun with his flowing locks of hair.... be still, my heart.

    You know those Barbie styling heads that you can buy today?  The ones that are just a frighteningly disembodied head where you can style the hair and put on makeup?  Well, I had a Cher one and I guess it's so old and rare now that I can't even find a picture of it online.  I apologize for not being able to share that with you.

    One final gift still brings back just a tad bit of anger so I'm telling you about this one at the risk of raising my blood pressure.

    I was given this incredibly amazing two album set filled with the best disco music the Bee Gees had to offer.

    Bee Gees, The - Greatest Hits - Vinyl 2 LP Record Set - Pop Rock

    This was their Greatest Hits album.  Not one, but two huge vinyl records with a tri-fold cover that opened to reveal individual shots of each Gibb brother.  (Except for Andy, who was never a Bee Gee and I still wonder why he was excluded from the family band.)  This was the Holy Grail of disco:  Jive Talking, Night Fever, and my personal favorite, Tragedy.

    Anyway, I would listen to these for hours on end on my trusty record player.

    Here's where the anger part comes in.

    So I leave one lousy record laying on the floor of my bedroom and who do you think comes crawling into my room without permission???

    Right.  My little brother.  Still in diapers, still crawling around.  Yet somehow he has a metal toy pistol clutched in his hot little hand.

    I think you can see where this is headed.

    He crawls on top of the record, dragging the metal gun across the record and destroying the vinyl surface forever.

    And what song do you think bore the brunt of the metal?

    Tragedy.  And it was one.

    If any of you would like to contact my little brother and give him a tongue lashing, let me know and I'll send you his contact info.

    Now, I'm off to do some shopping of my own.  I wonder what my girls will think of their gifts thirty years from now....

    What Do You Eat in a GFCF House???

    Griddled Corn Cakes with Strawberry Syrup*

    Corn Cake
    Boiled Egg

     Chicken with Pineapple-Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce*
    Wild Rice

    Popcorn Party Mix*

    *especially delicious items

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    All You Need is Love

    I've always had a soft spot for children.

    I knew I wanted to be an elementary school teacher by the time I was 8 years old.

    Of course, at that young age, I thought more about how fun it would be to decorate cute bulletin boards and grade papers with that lovely red pencil than actually teaching but I knew I wanted to be in the classroom.

    Even as an adult, I still find it easier to speak in front of a group of children rather than grown-ups.

    But there has always been a special place in my heart for the underdog.  The forgotten.  The left-out girl. The made fun of boy.

    During my high school years, it bothered me that there were people coming to school everyday who hated to be there.  People who knew that each day was going to be a day of ridicule, loneliness, and hostility.

    And while I could've done more, I did try to reach out, call them by name, say hello, and smile.  I spoke up when someone was being teased by others.  I did not want to be someone who contributed to the ugliness.

    I've tried my best to teach my girls compassion for others.  And nothing makes me prouder than when they choose to love someone who is hard to love.

    Having Lily Bird in the family has made all of us much more aware of an enormous population that goes largely unnoticed.

    The special needs population.

    It's embarrassing to admit, but until Lily joined us, I never really gave much thought as to how special needs families get through the day.  Or how they get to church.

    In fact, most of them simply don't go to church.

    Some have been told by church staff that they're not equipped to handle their child.

    Some end up sitting in the foyer because their child is too loud for the service so they miss out on the sermon and fellowship.

    Some don't feel like church is a safe place for them.

    Our church started a special needs ministry for children almost two years ago.

    We provide Sunday morning "buddies" for each special needs child.  We have a monthly special needs parent support group.  And we have occasional respite nights where mom and dad can go do something fun while the kiddos have a blast doing special activities just for them.

    While this is a fairly new addition, one thing our church has had for almost forever is something called The Friends Class.  This is a weekly gathering of special needs adults; a Sunday School class geared just for them.

    So it's never been unusual to see adults with special needs walking around the campus and interacting with others.  It's something I've always loved about our church.

    But remember, I'm the one who's more comfortable around the little kids, right?

    So of course, there's one sweet special needs lady (whose name I'll omit) who always seems to find me.

    And I'm always bothered by the fact that I can't seem to have a conversation with her.

    I try and some attempts are more successful than others but many times, she simply talks "at" me, I respond with some nods and comments, then she walks off and I'm left feeling frustrated and with a longing to understand her.

    But yesterday went a little differently.

    I was visiting in the Missions Center of our church when she approached me.  I smiled at her and tried to follow the conversation, wishing I could do more.

    Then it happened.

    She laid her head on my shoulder and let me hug her.

    And let me tell you... the world stopped for just a moment.  In that one sweet moment, our hearts connected and I melted.

    She broke contact and quickly walked away without another word.  More than likely, she didn't think more about it.

    But I did.

    My whole day was better because of that one hug.

    And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be looking for her next Sunday, hoping for another one.

    What Do You Eat in a GFCF House???

    Overnight Oatmeal

    Rice Vegetable Twists Pasta


    *especially delicious item

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Can I Get a Woot-Woot?

    Something big happened today.

    Something monumental.  Astronomical.  Enormous.

    Lily. Ate. Broccoli.

    You heard me.

    The child ate broccoli yesterday and today.

    I didn't post it yesterday because I've learned these things can be a fluke.  

    But when she ate it today, I knew it was ok.

    Ok to hope that my daughter might actually like a vegetable.

    Ok to hope that one day, she just might like more vegetables.

    Ahhhh... the sweet smell of success.... mingled with the stinky smell of broccoli.
    What Do You Eat in a GFCF House???

    Rice Chex

    P. Terry's Plain Hamburger Patty
    French Fries

    Broccoli and Bow Ties*

    *especially delicious item

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Another List

    As each passing day brings us closer and closer to Christmas, I'm beginning to face the fact that I still have quite a bit of stuff to do.

    My mind is working overtime trying to form mental to-do lists as well as file away all the important but random thoughts I have on a daily basis.

    Here's a little taste of my mind at work lately....

    1. Need to go to Target to buy stocking stuffers.

    2. Wear work out clothes, cap, tennis shoes, and no make-up and everyone will think you just came from the gym.

    3. Oh, but I need to go to the mall, too.

    4. Darn.  No work out clothes, then.

    5. Wait, did I wash my hair yesterday?

    6. Yes!  Quick shower and ponytail day.

    7. Target done and on to mall.

    8. What is this?  People are getting their teeth whitened, eyebrows tweezed, and getting massages right out in the middle of the mall!

    9.  And I was worried about wearing work out clothes?  Puh-leeze.  At least I'm not taking care of all my private business in front of the whole shopping world!  What's next?  Leg waxing kiosks?

    10. Speaking of leg waxing, must shave legs before Sunday so hair doesn't come through tights.

    11. Tights?  Oh - both girls need tights for their school uniforms.  Must buy tights.

    12. The waistband on my pants feels a little tight, actually.  Shouldn't have eaten the leftover cinnamon roll from Reagan's breakfast plate this morning.

    13. Which reminds me, Weight Watchers meeting in the morning.  Don't eat breakfast til after weigh-in.

    14. Do I even have anything to feed anyone breakfast in the morning?  Stop at HEB on the way home.

    15. Mall done - HEB, here I come.

    16. Remember to get chicken for supper plus breakfast food.

    17. Chicken, chicken, chicken - don't forget.

    18. Yum!  Free samples = Free lunch!

    19. Home again, home again; jiggety jig.

    20. Put on more comfortable stretchy yoga pants - toss offensive tight pants in dirty clothes.

    21. Tight!  Forgot tights for the girls, dad-gum it!

    22.  At least I don't have to cook because I got that chic... oh stink.  Forgot the chicken.

    23. Frozen pizza it is!

    What Do You Eat in a GFCF House???

    So Delicious brand Coconut Milk Yogurt
    Boiled Egg

    Brown Rice Snap Crackers spread with Peanut Butter
    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Lemon Chicken with Broccoli 


    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Next She'll Be Milking a Cow

    A couple days ago, Ryley decided to make some cookies.

    So she gathers all the ingredients and starts to work.

    After a while, I came walking through the living room and noticed I didn't smell the lovely scent of baking cookies.  I also noticed Ryley sitting on the couch reading a magazine.

    I asked her if she was still planning to make cookies for us or if it was all just a cruel joke.

    I also reminded her of an important life lesson - you should always do what you say you're going to do.

    Then I told her to march herself right into that kitchen and get to baking.

    Making cookies is serious business in this household.

    She looked at me over the top of her magazine and calmly pointed towards the fireplace.

    I turned around and this is what I saw:

    This stick of butter....

    sitting here....

    in front of my fireplace.

    Ryley informs me that her butter needs to be softened in order to make the cookies.

    It's moments like this that make me feel so sorry for her future husband.
    What Do You Eat in a GFCF House???

    Carrot Pineapple Muffins*

    Applegate Farms Turkey
    Quinoa Pasta
    Annie's Fruit Snack

    Hamburger Steaks with Caramelized Onions
    Chunky Sweet Potatoes and Pineapple

    *especially delicious item

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    It Occurred To Me...

    As I was cooking supper yesterday, I thought that some of you might be interested in knowing what we can eat when we're doing the GFCF diet.

    Especially any readers who are in the same boat.

    So from today on, at the end of each post, there'll be a little caption and our daily menu for your reading pleasure.  And for those of you not at all interested, you can just skip right over it.

    I'd like to file a couple of disclaimers, though.

    One, there are so many food sites on the web and I don't really want this to turn into a recipe blog.  So I'm just going to list the menu.  Because really good food can be a challenge on this diet, if something is especially delicious, I'll make a note of it.  And if you'd like the recipe, just leave a comment and I'll post it for you.

    Two, keep in mind that just because I'm serving something doesn't mean that everyone is eating it.  Lily is quite a picky eater.  Heck, so is Reagan.  So I keep offering different foods.  One day, Lily loves green beans.  The next day, they're the most disgusting thing on planet earth.  I just never know so I just keep trying.

    Three, you might notice that some days are more "nutritionally balanced" than others.  That is why I thank the good Lord for vitamins.  I've got enough pressure trying to fix the right foods on this diet.  I can't ensure that all of us are getting the appropriate servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  I'm only human.... and sometimes that means popcorn for supper!

    Four, the lunch items that show up on the menu will be what Lily is eating which means they are gluten  and casein free. For the rest of the family, lunch is a free-for-all and doesn't follow GFCF restrictions.

    And finally, I have a small confession to make.  I'm a Weight Watchers lifetime member so I track what I eat and count my points.  The GFCF diet doesn't necessarily lend itself to eating in the way I would choose.  Or at least, it takes way too much time and math to figure out the point values of many of these wacky ingredients.  So I watch my portion sizes and don't eat the desserts.

    Now, I don't want to sound like I don't eat dessert at all.

    Because I do.

    In fact, sometimes I skip supper in order to eat dessert.

    It's good to be the mom.

    I just make my own dessert that's Weight Watchers friendly (read "loaded with chocolate") and eat it when Lily's asleep.  I think the sneakiness factor brings out the flavor of the chocolate.

    That's it.  If you're still reading, you've reached the end of the fine print disclaimers.

    Happy Wednesday!

    What Do You Eat in a GFCF House???


    So Delicious brand coconut milk yogurt - vanilla flavor
    Boiled Egg
    1 Kinnikinnick brand cinnamon sugar donut

    Rice & Gravy*
    Green Beans

    Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies*

    *especially delicious items

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Call Me Sherlock

    As a mom, we wear many hats.  Depending on the day and the circumstance, we may be a nurse, a chauffeur, a chef, a teacher, a party planner... the list goes on and on.

    Well, as of today, I'm adding a new hat to my collection.

    A hat like this one:

    I'm about to become a detective, out to solve the mysteries of autism.

    On second thought, solving the mystery of autism is really beyond my realm of expertise.  I think I'll just focus on trying to figure out some of the mysteries of autism in my youngest daughter.

    Here are just a few things that I need to keep up with when it comes to Lily:

    On Monday, I started Lily on the gluten-free/casein-free diet.  Basically, this means no wheat, oats, rye or barley - that's the gluten part.  And the casein part mostly means no dairy products.  So I need to know what she's eating and when she's eating it.  

    She's been taking several vitamin and mineral supplements but we recently added about five more to the mix.

    Lily is still in the same wonderful school but as she masters skills, they are moved over to a "maintenance" cycle and she begins working on new skills.  So she may be brushing a doll's hair and pumping hand soap - skills she learned several months ago - but she will also be adding new things to the ever-growing task list.  So each day, Lily has both old and new things to work on.

    We're also still working on potty training which has been going very well, much to my pleasant surprise.

    Her sleep cycle is another factor to keep up with - when she goes to sleep, does she go to sleep quickly or does it take her a while to drift off, does she wake up at all during the night, what time does she wake up in the morning... that kind of thing.

    There's a lot to keep up with.  Then I have to attempt to remember all of it when I take Lily to a doctor or therapist.

    This is where the detective part comes in.  

    This week, I'm starting to use a journal, a notebook to help me keep track of all the little bitty millions of things that happen in Lily's day.  

    Basically, my brain... on paper.

    So my first thought was that I would create this notebook myself.  

    You know, get the big new 3-ring binder, the subject dividers, the hole puncher.  Just like the first day of school. Only without the cute new outfit.

    But I quickly realized that I would more than likely spend the bulk of my time trying to create the perfect notebook, stressing myself out thinking that I might possibly forget to include some life altering subject divider and I would end up ditching the whole project. 

    I know myself pretty well.

    So I bought a ready made journal that looks like this:

    A Day at a Time by Jen Merheb: Book Cover

    It's cute, it's thorough, it has more categories than I would've thought to include, and most important of all, it's already done!

    Plus, the title of it is my life's motto, "A Day at a Time".  How perfect is that? 

    Now I just have to keep up with it!  And remember to take it with me to the doctor's office or therapy clinic.  

    Wish me luck!  

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