Love is in the Air: February Wrap up!

Billy’s birthday is always a double whammy holiday falling on Valentine’s Day…but this it was a triple celebration: Birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Ash Wednesday!

Don’t worry, Billy wasn’t an after thought, he was the main event! We had friends over for beef tenderloin two days before his birthday. We celebrated him on his actual birthday and went out with a group of friends two days after his birthday. We also did another dinner for all February birthday friends the following week. I think this is a record for celebrating Billy’s birthday. He’s learning from me 🙂

My mom surprised me on Valentine’s Day by bringing me flowers, candy, AND she serenaded me! It totally made my day. All the kids at Religious Ed got a kick out of it.

The kids and I started sending love notes to Billy at work. He had a few rough weeks at work so we decided to turn that frown upside down. We all like mail, but a love note at work seemed to do just the trick!

 

 

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Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Oh My!

We started our clean eating journey thanks to The Jos. She’s always had horrible acid reflux. At her 10 year old check up, the doctor referred us to a GI. We had tried a few prescriptions, Zantac, Omeprazole, and lots of tums. So in August she had her first scope. They determined her stomach is fine, but her esophagus flares up when she eats certain foods. I asked if we should do an elimination diet to figure it out and the GI specialist told me “No, I don’t think she should have to go with out pasta. You like pizza and pasta, right Josie? Let’s just give her two pills every day and tums as needed. Tums work differently so she should be fine.”

Meanwhile, starting in July she started to get this bright red flare up rash around her mouth (see picture below).  We went to a dermatologist 3 times and got 3 different prescriptions. The top two pictures and the bottom left picture are on the different prescriptions. They eventually referred us to the Mayo Clinic.

Side note: Josie also has SEVERE seasonal allergies. She’s taking shots once a week to try and help her manage them. She has an inhaler that she has to do twice a day, plus a rescue inhaler, singular every night, and Xyzal.

A friend referred us to a functional doctor. This was when we finally started to see some results. We have a long road ahead of us, but the bottom right picture is Josie without any prescription medication just changing her diet. We are currently gluten, dairy, and soy free.

We got Josie’s test results back and found out she was heading down a path for rheumatoid arthritis. Her inflammation is so bad it could turn into colitis or crohn’s disease. YIKES. Her immune system is crashing. Josie’s body is working so hard. Her toxic load is flaring up with asthma, allergies, and the skin rash.

So…the plan is to calm her tummy down. We’ll be doing plant enzymes, herbal supplements, and eating TONS of fruits and veggies.

We also found out that I have a non-celiac gluten intolerance. Gluten effects my brain and spine so for the rest of my life I need to have a low to no gluten diet.

All of the above was very eye opening for us. Josie and I have been gluten free for 3 weeks and have seen huge changes. Neither of us are bloated or have stomach aches, which were common. We both feel better. Josie hasn’t had ONE tums all month! We plan to start weaning her off the acid reflux medicine soon. Hopefully this spring we will notice some great progress with her allergies too!

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December Fun

There’s no snow on the ground, there hasn’t been any at all yet this winter! It feels so strange to be a week away from Christmas and no snow!

We’ve had a busy December and it’s been a lot of fun too. I feel like every age we say this is the best year yet, and as this year comes to a close…I’m feeling like our kids are at the best age and this is the best year yet! Here’s some of the fun we’ve done this month so far:

  • I took Josie and Ben to Katy Perry with some friends. It was Ben’s first big concert. He was nervous for the loud noises. Especially since Josie told him that at Paul McCartney, there were fireworks. The usher saw he had his ears plugged on the way to the bathroom, so she gave us earplugs. By the end of the show, he didn’t need them in. We danced, sang, and rocked out. It was great. (Billy and Will did an indoor golf simulator with friends. Livi was on a date with her boyfriend).
  • Ben was in his first performance of The Nutcracker. I say first, because it won’t be his last. The kid was beaming. He’s feet never touched the ground, Ben was on cloud 9. He was in the Infantry. His part was very small, but he has a ball. We had two full rows of friends and family that came to support him. My heart felt full the whole day, we are lucky to have so many special people in our lives.
  • The kids had their piano recital at school last week. They did fantastic.
  • I had a birthday!
  • Livi turned 16 two days ago. We currently have a house full of teenagers. It’s our first time with a teen birthday party. I think we pulled it off pretty good. They are all nice kids, but we hid the alcohol just to be safe. 🙂

We have one week left of school then holiday break begins. Ready or not, here we come!25299319_10212662373207313_4483421751900511556_n

Will, Ben, and Josie.

Give Thanks 2017

This year marks 6 years of doing our month of give thanks. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We donated to the school library for the first time. We gave over 100 books so students could enjoy them.
  • Josie and I wrapped presents for Amanda the Panda (They support families that are grieving the loss of a loved one)
  • We wrote thank you cards to farmers to show them a little love.
  • We donated a buddy bench to the school in memory of our neighbor and buddy we lost earlier this year.

This year was also the first year we let the kids select a charity to donate to. They researched and we made the donation. Josie selected Children’s Cancer Connection in memory of Aunt Meredith’s mom, Lynn. Will selected JDRF for his buddy Luke. Ben wanted to donated to research, originally he said wikipedia. But thanks to a good friend we were connected with the Drake Library and got a behind the scenes tour of the archives. It was really cool!

 

8 is Great x 2

The boys turned 8 in Orlando at Universal Studios….It was so fun! We tackled the Harry Potter stuff and they were on cloud 9 (or platform 9 3/4). The boys got to go to the wand store and because it was their birthday, they had a private ceremony of the wand picking them. I think that was their BEST memory. They loved the train ride between the parks. It felt like you were a part of the movie. They were a little nervous about the simulator rides…well to be honest more like a LOT nervous. Ben also didn’t care for the fire breathing dragon. It may have been a little too real for him.

We didn’t tell the kids we were going till the night before we left. It was such a fun surprise.

 

Boysbday

September, blink…GONE!

I am not sure how this happened, but we are already at the start of October. YIKES! Here are a some fun things that happened:

  • We went to Omaha for a whirlwind day over Labor Day. It was quick but fun to be with family. We got to meet our new niece and spend quality time with Lynn before she passed away.
  • We created the “Wakonda Quad” then accomplished it: tennis, swim, golf, and dinner all in one day. So fun!
  • We started soccer for the kiddos and volleyball for Livi. It’s been fun to watch all the activities.
  • We celebrated Grandshe’s BIG 7-0 in a BIG way. Party, family pictures, mother daughter pedicures (that might have been my fav). By the end of the celebration, I think she felt all the love.
  • We sent Livi off to her first homecoming (our first to send a kid).

Things I don’t want to forget:

  • Ben pretends the “audience” at soccer games are strictly there for him. He puts on his own half time show on the way to the bench to talk to his coach. One handed cart wheels, round offs, and a BIG wave and kisses blown to the parents before his water break.
  • Will had to make a church at religious ed and list all the people that support him and lift him up. At the top of his list was his friends Luke and Blake then family. It completely melted my heart and makes me so thankful he loves his buddies.
  • Josie was at the store with me and I told her she could pick out a bouncy ball. One was more expensive than the other, so I said “What’s the difference”? I was thinking why was one more expensive than the other, what does this one do that that one doesn’t? Without hesitation, Josie said “Three dollars!” I couldn’t stop laughing. She said “I thought you were giving me a pop quiz.” Grandshe

It’s a GIRL!

ITsAGIRL

On August 11th we welcomed Livi from Switzerland into our home for the school year. The idea of having a Foreign Exchange Student came this summer, but we were thinking of doing it in a couple of years. After playing on the website for a few weeks, we decided to request more information. I emailed on a Thursday, had a conversation that afternoon, filled out paperwork on Friday, had a home inspection on Saturday, and by the following Tuesday we found out Livi would be living with us starting three weeks later!

Since Livi’s arrival, here are a few things we’ve done:

  • Took a surprise trip to Orlando to go to Universal Studios, 5 days after she arrived.
  • Started school
  • Started volleyball
  • Lake weekend at our friend’s cabin
  • Tried a donut (her favorite new food)

We are learning how to have a teenager (a few years earlier than planned) as well as having 4 kids. We think it will be a great adventure for all of us. #bemispartyofsix