Happy Birthday Alex!

Alex 3 days old

Alex 3 days old

1 year old

1 year old

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2 year old buckaroo

Alex at 3

Alex at 3

 

Happy 4th Birthday

Happy 4th Birthday

Dear Alex,

Wow, its hard to believe the sweet babe who rocketed into the world in a hospital in Helena Montana is now a 4 year old boy. Congratulations!

Born serious you would never know it today. Your smile can light up a room and you love a good joke.  Hugs and cuddles are your favorite. You are my one that will sit with me for hours, just sitting (of course we often talk and read.) But really you just want to be, and be with those you love.

Your best friend is your brother Colton. It is rare to see you apart from each other. You two have such marvelous adventures.  Your favorite things to play are Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. You love to be Tonto because he shoots a bow and arrow. You also love Spider man. I’m not sure how it all goes together, but you make it work. And you are so sweet to include me as, “Tonto’s Mom,” or “Spider Man’s Mom.” I am proud to be the mother of such hero’s.
You work so hard at playing in a kind way and negotiating with your little sister, you want her to be included, though sometimes she frustrates you. It really is a part of her age, she will grow up someday… soon. Then she will be as close a friend to you as Colton is now.

You are so smart. Your learning faster than your body can keep up. But don’t worry that too will come along.

Your kindness astounds me. Even today on your birthday, you held no gift too sacred and shared freely. But you have always been like that, rarely holding anything as your own and everything as “ours.”

You are an artist. I wish I could express the joy your drawing brings me. Abstract they may be, but I love nothing more than watching you draw. For half of your art is in the process. You have sounds and story that go with each stroke of your marker. The end result is such a wonderful tumult of color and lines and …. faces? Yes, I see them now.

Even your birthday cake this year is a testament of your art. You picked the flavor (chocolate) and helped me bake it. You chose the colors and you told me what to write, “Happy Birthday to Alex.” Then you put your own mark and art on your cake. There is no cake in the world like it. I am so happy that we could make it together. I hope we can do many more.

I know sometimes things get busy, and sometimes you might feel a little left in the middle. But you are so special to your dad and me. We hope you know how vital your are to our family. You are our sunshine. You are a blessing.

I pray that in the next years that God continues to bless you in more ways than I can name.

I pray that you will grow in wisdom and love for God.

I pray that you will be hugged and snuggled enough.

I pray that you will know you are loved.

Happy Birthday Sweet boy!

I love you.

~Mom

 

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Happy Easter

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Wishing all a happy Easter as we remember the great news; Our Lord is indeed risen!

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This Moment

{this moment}

Joining Soule Mama in a Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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Bike riding

When your birthday is in December, and this past December being so snowy, it can be hard to get the really cool, really special, right-of-passage birthday gifts that kids who are born in warmer seasons so often receive. Nevertheless, Colton last year had long out grown his bicycle and it was time for a new one. But, again since it was so snowy this winter he didn’t get much time to practice with it then. Now however, is a great time to get used to it. Really, where did this child receive his patient nature?  4-9-14 003 (768x1024) 4-9-14 008 (728x1024) 4-9-14 009 (1024x768) 4-9-14 005 (768x1024)

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A picnicking we will go

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After a winter that we all thought might never end, it feels so good to be spending more and more time out doors in sun and warmth. Yesterday the kids had the great idea to have a picnic. And so we wandered. So many possibilities: in the front yard? No, too shady. In the pasture? No, too lumpy. Near the garden? No, still a little damp. Ah-ha! behind the barn? Yes, this is the spot all agreed on. Sunny, warm, flat and dry.

“Never be within doors when  you can rightly be without.”
~Charlotte Mason

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Banana Bread Chocolate Chip and Oat Breakfast Bars (a vegan/gluten free recipe)

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Of all things, a camera setting specifically for taking pictures of food! Who thinks up these things?

And as the title suggests I have a recipe to share, though I must make clear it is not my own. So if you wish to try it you shall have to click the link below:

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2014/02/healthy-banana-bread-chocolate-chip-oat-breakfast-bars-vegan-gluten-free/

This is certainly a recipe worth doing. Its major appeal to me is that there are no crazy ingredients. You can certainly use regular oat meal if you wish. And as far as gluten free treats go, it is one of my new favorites. And it really can be quite versatile if you are a bit creative. My cousin Kelly found this great recipe. I shall forever thank God for Kelly.  she has been a constant inspiration and encouragement to me on this journey of nixing wheat. She always seems to have just the right words or a tasty recipe to try when I am at my wits end and ready to scarf down a bagel.

So, for those who have wondered if going gluten free for me was just a fad, I can assure you it wasn’t. I still do try. Everyday. But, I would be lying if I said that it is a great deal easier now a year down the road.

Unfortunately, it is a struggle for me, it probably always will be. But, I can testify that it is worth it for the relief I receive. (For those that may not know. I shared my story of going gluten free here, and here, and here.)

And what have I learned from my experiment of eating a gluten free diet in the past year?

Well, I have learned above all things that I am even more fallible than I ever realized. I totally do not believe that my will has any power other than to overpower me. It is my realization, that the only way is to do this one day at a time, one snack at a time, sometimes even one ingredient at a time. Embracing the whole experience as an excellent practice in self-control.

I have also learned that the choice to eat wheat or not is an intensely personal decision. For whether the knowledge I have gained may be helpful to all, wheat is an ingredient held sacred to many. Great care must be taken in even suggesting that giving up wheat may be good for ones body.

Even in my own house this is a challenge. My husband though supportive of my giving it up has no desire to do so. Nor do the children in my care, especially the one who seems to live on PB & J. And true as it may be for me I have found that though I can guide and though as chief cook and grocery shopper I can cut out wheat from a good portion of our family diet, compromises are still needed.

And out in public; be it at the family gathering, the church potluck, or the small gathering of friends the rule of thumb I have embraced is: Either bring something I know I can eat or eat whatever is put before me with grace and restraint.
Thus, there are times in the name of not making a big deal of it, or a perhaps as a subconscious way to cheat I suppose. I do occasionally eat a little wheat.

I do have a few methods to combat the symptoms when I do indulge. I have found peppermint gel capsules really help on the digestive end. And thus far the best remedy for the reaction I experience on my skin is to be sure to drink a lot of water. I also really like this tea at the end of the day. It just seems to settle things and help me sleep. Its not perfect, but I do survive. I will say that now a year out, my body does not react to small amounts of wheat at all severely as it used to. So, I have to think some healing has occurred.

So with one year down and a life time to work on it, I will continue attempting to live the gluten free life.

 

Please note: None of the above links are affiliate links, and are only there in the possibility that they may be helpful to someone.

 

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March 31

DSC04374DSC04376DSC04377DSC04380Ahhh warmth! Today was a spectacular day. March for all its lion’ish behavior has decided to leave as a lamb and thus we shall forgive her.

As we shed our coats the sun beckoned us to do a bit of exploring. We found our way around the yard and out in the pastures and before long following the ditches down this lovely dirt road we live on.

A few things I am reminded of as we embrace the change of seasons:

~ Mud can provide literally hours of entertainment, so can the throwing of rocks into a ditch.
~ Children are washable… and so are there clothes.
~ It is perfectly reasonable that little boys should crow (just like Peter Pan) at the joy of adventure before them.
~ It is a great blessing to live in a place where you can get to know your neighbors.

I hope all were able to enjoy some sun today. :)

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