Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two of my boys...

I was going to title this post, "Look what happens when you eat non-processed food... you lose your hair!" But that was kind of lengthy and I don't want to scare anyone away from good eating. =) The fact is Brock likes his hair a little longer. And he doesn't like to get his haircut. So when he finally gets a cut he likes to go short so that he has a longer space of time before his next cut. Smart kid. I like it somewhere in them middle. But I love him to bits no matter how his hair is! As you can see Brock is a great big brother too. He and Teague are going to grow out their hair together this time around. =)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

She's happiest when...

Guess who spends most of her time sitting in a wheelchair, but got outside to go sledding for a few minutes today? Yep, that's Wyndham! We've been getting lots of white, fluffy snow the past few days and Wyndham was watching Chip pulling Crew in the sled and he was all smiles. I asked her if that looked like fun and if she wanted a turn too. She got a huge grin on her face. She didn't even have to say "yes". I just knew we had to make it happen for her.
Sometimes she thinks things look fun that the other kids around her are doing, but she herself is hesitant or not interested in actually doing it herself. So I asked her a few more times as she continued to watch Crew and she did nod her head as she kept grinning.
Bundling up a 10 year old girl who can't help all that much in getting her snow clothes on was a bit tricky. Getting her out the door and into the sled waiting for her outside was tricky too. But I was happy to help make it happen, and so was Chip. Our driveway is fairly steep and Chip said she laughed outloud everytime they made it to the bottom.
She even had hot chocolate when she came inside. =)
The other pictures here are of Wyndham on her cooking night with Daddy. They made some asian-style beef stirfry and she was able to stand next to the pot and stir the sauce for a minute- which she felt so grown up doing. You also see some homemade macaroni and cheese {which the kids all ate well} and a whole-grain chocolate banana cream pie too. We've been sticking to our non-processed food diet for the majority of our meals and as you can see we're eating well. Our house usually smells great and feels warm because of the extra heat coming from the oven these days. It's been fun to try lots of new recipes too!
While Wyndham is still almost full-time in her wheelchair since her surgery back in September, we're always so glad to see her wanting to jump in and do something that the other kids are doing. She is often so content to just sit back and watch or just find something else to do. But when her eyes light up and a grin spreads across her face, we can't help but sense her happiness and her desire to be as much like the rest of her siblings, even though she has limitations. Her little outing in the sled today reminded me that sometimes we need to just go for it. I hold back and don't jump into as much fun as I should sometimes because it's just so much easier to look on or make excuses of which I am queen.
Witnessing Wyndham's joy in the littlest things like cooking and sledding has inspired me all over again today. I hope you feel a bit inspired by her little {major!} triumphs too. I know I look forward to finding happiness in some unusual and unexpected ways this year!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Four months.

The past four months have literally felt like forever in some regards, and then I look at the photos of Teague and realize just how quickly they have flown by! He's not such a tiny baby anymore. He has definitely filled out in body size and we often comment about how he's our biggest kid and we wonder how big he'll be when he's all grown up. He is definitely the most easy-going little one of all the kids and he is so observant and wanting to see all the action that goes on around our house.
Crew is a wonderful big brother- even though in almost every other aspect of life he is demanding and overbearing. We're very thankful that he has such a soft spot toward Teague. Teague loves any and all attention and so the relationship between these two is growing almost as fast as Teague's body right now. =) I couldn't help but set Teague up in the orange Bumbo seat and snap some pictures of him- just as I had done with Crew at the same age. The comparison picture just makes me smile as I immediately see similarities and differences. It's so fun to be able to watch Teague's personality emerging a little bit more each day.
We love having him in our family and his laughter and curiosity and huggable-ness (I know that's not a word but I couldn't help myself.) and his cuteness are some of the best parts of our days right now. We feel lucky to have had him in our lives for 4 months already. We feel lucky to be the family to watch him grow and give him love.
I have a feeling the next four months are going to fly by even more quickly!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Beyond cake and french fries...

We do our fair share of partying and eating cake and things with whipped cream on them around our house, but I wanted to share a few photos and thoughts about food and what's going on in our home right now.
Just before Christmas we got inpired by the movie "SuperSize Me" which I had heard about before but had never seen. After seeing only a part of it I was ready to make some changes with our diets- not that we eat that much fast food, but simply because it helped open my eyes to just how much preocessed foods we do consume around here. Especially when it comes to the kids' school lunches.
Jamie Oliver has been on his Food Revolution kick and we have found several recipes to try and are finding that our kids actually will eat certain healthy food options that we wouldn't have guessed they would eat. What's going on in our kitchen right now is that we're making a conscious effort to change the foods we eat on a daily basis and trying very hard to include foods that are fresh and homemade. It's not an easy task when you're used to opening spaghetti noodles and a jar of pasta and mixing them together and calling it 'dinner'.
Chip happens to be a very good cook. He could be a gourmet chef at a fine dining establishment. He has taken on the responsibility of not only making most of the meals, but also of having one of our kids join him in the kitchen as his sous chef each night too. The kids are absolutely loving their chance to help make food and also love being taught cooking techniques and given responsibilities for the entire meal. The person that helps Daddy each night also helps to set the table and clean up too.
What we are finding is that there is a lot of positive things going on simply by making this one lifestyle change. For starters, the food is healthier and therefore we should be feeling better. So far I can't say we see pounds melting off or muscles bulking up- but we do feel better about what we're putting into our bodies! The kids are also excited to eat, not only the meals they make, but they seem to enjoy trying what each other makes too. They sort of have a game going on about who has made the best thing so far and they challenge each other to try stuff- just because they are proud of what they create. Also, it gets them away from things like tv and computer screens and Wii games and instead they are really enjoying their time with Chip in the kitchen as well as learning about new foods and kitchen tools. It's a win-win so far!
Although we do have some challenges. One is we have very little access to "good, quality" food. There aren't any high-end grocery stores of big co-ops or chains like Whole Foods. So we are modifying some recipes and also when you eat non-processed foods you have to grocery shop more often for fresh ingredients. Which is spendier than stuff like boxed Mac & Cheese, but hopefully we will see benefits that far exceed the extra cash this kind of healthy living requires.
We are loving this recipe for No-Knead Bread. We've made several loaves in the past couple of weeks- both white and whole-grain wheat. It's very good- especially when it's fresh and hot! It's so simple too! Love that when it comes to eating better.
Also, as I noted, Jamie Oliver's website has lots of great recipes and we're also just trying to eat more fruits and veggies. We got an apple peeler and have used it more times than I can count already. My kids love to watch the apples spin as their peels come right off. We are easily amused, I guess. =) That photo of the eggs in the pan is Jamie Oliver's recipe called Bubble and Squeak. It is made with leftover roasted vegetables and potatoes. Delicious! The last photo is a picture of one of the kids' plates the night Ava helped Chip to make Shrimp Cakes with Papaya puree. The kids loved them and we will be making that recipe again.
I plan to share more recipes here that we find to be easy, healthy and kid-friendly. I'd love for any of you to leave links to recipes or share some of the healthy food options that your family enjoys too.
Isabella asked us "How long are we planning to do this healthy cooking thing?" and to that we answered, "Hopefully forever!". I know a lot of people get excited about healthy living this time of year, but we're hoping that these healthy options become a natural part of our routine around here. The best thing we can do is try, right?!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Celebrating Wyndham's Birthday!

Today our family is celebrating Wyndham's 10th birthday! We kept it simple- as we do most things around here and that meant Crew was helping me bake a chocolate cake at 9 am this morning. The only kind of chocolate cake I liked when I was a girl was my mom's Wacky Cake recipe. So when Wyndham signed that she wanted "Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting" to me when I asked her about her birthday cake I knew I was going to make her a cake from scratch.
She deserves the real deal!
It's hard to believe that she is actually 10 years old. I still remember everything about the day she was born- and a whole lot of the events that have transpired over her decade of life too. Teagan was so proud to be a big sister again and she and Chip decided on the name Wyndham. Weighing in at only 4 lbs. 6 oz. and yet being full-term, we should have known Wyndham was extraordinary from the very start.
She has been through more ups and downs than any of the rest of us in this family and yet she has a smile on her face so often and a glimmer in her eye that only fades usually only during her extreme medical challenges.
I have cried out to God to spare her life more than once. I have also wondered why God has allowed so much suffering her life so many times too. Too many times to count. And still God gives her grace for all she goes through. And some of it rubs off of her onto the rest of us and we feel strength and grace from God through her.
That's pretty amazing for a little girl who can't walk or talk right now and just turned 10.
She is very special and loved by all of us who are lucky enough to be her family. She is loved by a lot of friends and family near and far too.
As rough as she's had it, I have this feeling that if she could talk she would tell you that she feels like a lucky girl more often than not.
We're really hoping that she starts gaining more strength to be able to walk again soon. The fact that she has overcome so much in the past 10 years makes me believe in her for this current challenge and for future ones too.
Happy Birthday, dear Wyndham!
You are so loved and we hope you enjoyed your simple birthday party with us today. Love, Your Family