Sunday, May 31, 2015

Developing More Healthy Habits--Part One

It's happened again. My ability to structure a big picture routine and schedule, but getting bogged down in the details, has caught up to me in another way.

A few weeks ago Anna was eating popcorn and went to Jeremy with a complaint about something hurting on her gums. Jeremy didn't see anything where she said it hurt, but he noticed another tooth that did not look good. I made an appointment with our family dentist and at the appointment Anna curled up on my lap and cried. We had to force a look at the tooth and they saw enough to say it was a cavity and we needed to see a pediatric dentist.

Here's the thing--I've never had a cavity. If I had seen that tooth earlier, I don't know if I would have even recognized it as a cavity--maybe a stain or something. I started taking Aliza and Josiah to the dentist when they were 5 and they have never had any problems with tooth decay. My plan was to take Anna this fall when she turns 5. Cavities just weren't even on my radar! We let our kids brush their teeth independently when they could and wanted to. And we really didn't worry about it. In retrospect, we could have/should have been more thorough and consistent.

We have 3 pediatric dentist offices where we live. One wasn't accepting new patients, one said on their website that parents are not welcome in the treatment area so that left one to choose from. I made a morning appointment. The office was decorated for kids and Anna was cooperative. She sat on my lap on the chair and opened her mouth. The dentist was a gentleman closer to retirement age and he informed me that Anna has four cavities--one in each of her first molars. I would classify this dentist as "old school". He shook his head, said something to the effect of "it's unusual to see this much decay in someone so young", gave me a list of all the sugar to cut out of our diet along with a list of the 10 worst and best cereals, added a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste to our bill, and then told me that he had doubts about whether nitrous would be enough to relax Anna to do the work. And if nitrous didn't do it, he said, his only option was to refer us to a practice 2 hours away that does fillings under general anesthesia. He assured me there was no other practice on the shore that does this. This was all before I saw the bill for the consultation and the first two filling priced out.

I was crying before I left the office...trying not to let Anna see. Anna was just thrilled with the play ring, stickers and balloon she left the office with. She was ready to go back as soon as possible to get her "silver star" on her tooth.

I was still an utter mess by the next day. I started reading about what natural remedies there are for tooth decay and consulted with the person living the most natural lifestyle that I know. I read about fluoride. I talked to any friend I knew who had experience with their children and dental work. All of those Moms and children have survived! haha.

I was under a huge load of Mommy guilt and regret. I should have brushed her teeth. I should have made her brush her teeth twice a day since her first tooth. I should never have given her juice to drink. And now my mistakes are directly going to cause her pain and discomfort and maybe emotional injury too! On top of that I felt horrible guilt for the financial burden this was adding to Jeremy. I felt like I was suffocating and my anxiety level was very high.

In my head I told myself all the right things, but my body just didn't cooperate with my head! My constant prayer was, "God, you know me, you know Anna, you know what her teeth are, you know our finances and our commitment to living debt free, you know the timing so I give everything to you to sort out. Give us wisdom, discernment and direction." Every morning this song lived in my heart.

It didn't take me long to know for sure that I was not going to be changing our entire diet. We immediately revamped our brushing teeth routine for everyone. And we are using the fluoride toothpaste for Anna every other night.

I realize that this may all seem a bit dramatic for cavities. As a Mom I have not had to face any medical issues with my children and I'm a bit prone to anxiety over medical stuff for myself--and the four little people who carry part of my heart.

Before this post becomes unbearable I will end and bring you up to the present in another post!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Picture Post

I'll sum up this week in photos. It's been a great week!

Cousins and the Jurassic Park app

It happened.

Grandpa and Josiah made our front steps much more presentable.

Yard sale chair.

New soil for our swimming pool gardens

Mismatched stocking footed helper.

Grandma helped Aliza plant her mint and tomatoes. We also planted green pepper, carrots, lettuce and zucchini.

It was a perfect day for picking strawberries. Not too hot and a bit breezy. They actually did very well not eating berries in the field!

Backyard beach

Josiah dug this hole and they had the big idea to fill it with water. It's literally a mud pit. But they have So.Much.Fun. We definitely belong in the country!
Today's beach day. I lugged his car seat on the beach and he was happy in it for a very long time. It's the only time I'll carry the car seat--it's heavy! Next time it will be a hat and sunscreen and even more sand in the mouth.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Our Open House

Whew! I never realize how much time and energy school takes until the first official day of summer when the house is tidy, the dishes are washed, laundry is started and I wonder what I should do next!

We enjoyed having both sets of grandparents with us for supper to celebrate Aliza and Josiah's promotion to the next grade. Aliza and Josiah were very excited to set up their tables to display their books and work.
Aliza particularly enjoyed this book and told Grandma Karen about it in detail.

Meghan and the boys came over for the evening to check out schoolwork.
Josiah had an evening of running. He wore Grandpa's fitbit and wanted to get the steps up to 15,000. He ran and ran and ran with his cousins.
Anna needed a table too. =)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

They Did It!

We were talking about school work and how tomorrow was going to be our last day of school over breakfast and Aliza had the genius idea that if she worked really hard she could finish today. It was cool and rain was forecasted for the entire day so Josiah was game too. Aliza and Josiah both did a ton of reading to finish up for the year. But they did it--before supper even. I did absolutely nothing else today.

It was a bit tricky to supervise so much reading and keep two younger ones happy. Isaiah found the bookshelf.
Anna settled down with paper, stickers, pens, glue and paper flowers.
It's going to feel really great to wake up tomorrow without school on the agenda!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Making Some Healthy Habits

I'm really good at keeping a flexible schedule, but I'm not so good at controlling my children's every movement. I'm really good at putting reasonably nutritious meals on the table three times a day, but I'm not so good at limiting snacks in between. Since I've made some mistakes I'm at a point where I'm trying to teach healthy habits to the older children and make changes with the younger children.

I gave my children apple juice (100% juice, no added sugar) at an early age. I know why I did that, but I did not anticipate that it would translate into them not drinking water. It was pointed out to me how if a child drinks 3-4 cups of juice in a day they are taking in 1/3 of the calories they need in a day just in juice. Some of my children outright refuse water so it was then suggested that I use Crystal Light flavored drink mixes. These mixes have 5 calories in a serving as opposed to the 110 calories in a serving of apple juice. (I still have a mental struggle with going from the natural fruit sugar in juice to the sweetener in drink mixes.) Nonetheless,I made the switch. It took a few days to adjust, but there is no more complaining and now everyone is getting water in their bodies!

I think the fact that we are basically at home lends itself to different eating habits than if the children were in a traditional school setting. The kitchen is always available to them. They like to grab a snack whenever the thought strikes them. Aliza and Josiah watch their lessons on the computer so a snack is always a temptation to keep them busy while they are watching. (Of course a snack would have been nice to have in school when my teachers were less than exciting too! ha.)

After a day where eating habits particularly alarmed me, I came up with the idea of an "eating schedule." This chart works especially well with Aliza, but the concept is in effect with everyone. I was a bit hesitant to present the idea--to Aliza--because I wanted it to be all about health and making good choices and feeling energetic and not regretting what you had just eaten. I did not want it to be about looks and weight.

I set up six times in a day when food would be available. Aliza can record what she eats. She chooses a snack based on whether her "tummy is telling her it's hungry" not on how she is feeling or what she is doing at the moment. If she decides not to have a snack, she puts a smiley face in the box. Once the box is written in, the snack or meal is over.
Aliza loves this. She bought into the idea as soon as it was presented. I made the third rendition of the chart today. The first day it was implemented she came to me and hugged me more than once telling me she loved me and then she would add "The eating chart makes me feel so grown up."

Here's the thing. Children love structure and boundaries. It makes them feel secure. It took me next to forever, but I finally figured out a way to give--especially Aliza--structure and boundaries for healthy eating habits. And you know what? Weight has not come up a single time.

Monday, May 11, 2015

just be you and live original

This is great and wanted to share it with some of you without putting it on facebook.

My girls are more than welcome to look to Sadie as a celebrity role model!

I wish I could blog about my struggles in raising my girls to have confidence and self-esteem. It's not like writing about temper tantrums and crawling for the first time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Isaiah--7 Months

 Today Isaiah scooted himself across the toy room--to Josiah's Legos. The inevitable has happened! He's not quite up on his knees, but he gets himself around. Two teeth have come through and he loves his squash, sweet potatoes and carrots! He has zero interest in anything like Cheerios to eat yet. And I don't know what the deal is with his napping...he's been waking up almost exactly one hour into every nap. Crying. I know he's still tired. I think Babywise calls it the 45 minute intruder. I need to look it up again. (I'm pretty sure I've looked it up with every child.) I'm also pretty sure it's time to turn on the air conditioner fan in his room for white noise. That being said, he can wake up from those short naps and recover and smile and scoot around and be generally content. Definitely a youngest child!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Joy Dare::April

2307. Another Mom and I agreeing to pray for each other
2308. Shortened school days for Easter week
2309. Long evening with Chrissy
2310. Great Grandparents enjoying Isaiah
2311. Lydia loves on Isaiah by keeping him constantly well stocked with toys
2312. Surprised Josiah and I got a huge hug
2313. It's Friday and it felt like a Friday
2314. Fresh cut daffodils for Easter
2315. Anna's confidence
2316. Lots of outside time
2317. Easter morning---the joy, the music, the fellowship, the hope the comes from Jesus rising from the dead
2318. The Easter egg hunt
2319. A full day with family
2320. Introduction of long division went smoothly
2321. Cooperation at the Dr office
2322. Walking around the yard to check out new growth
2323. Another cooperative Dr appt
2324. Aliza's excitement over a new library book and begging me to finish my work so we could sit together and read
2325. (More) daffodils
2326. Celebrating Easter with family who share faith
2327. Helping in the preschool Bible study class
2328. Looking through pictures from years gone by
2329. An outing with Gramma
2330. Taking a risk on an opportunity
2331. Isaiah lights up with his Daddy walks in the door in the evening
2332. Motivation to clean up the bedrooms
2333. Arriving at Grandma and Grandpa's house
2334. Being in a house with plenty of help when Jeremy got sick
2335. Raspberry vanilla ice cream cones
2336. Greeter at church made sure they greeted me in spite of my full arms
2337. Well behaved children, good sermon and a baby sleeping in my arms
2338. Master's Tournament=TV watching all weekend
2339. Gorgeous warm afternoon
2340. Frisbee with the kiddos
2341. Sun kissed cheeks
2342. Safely home
2343. My mother in law, knowing how tired I was, praying for our safety (I had to drive the whole way since Jeremy was still sick)
2344. Early bedtimes
2345. Josiah loving the poems in "Where the Sidewalk Ends)
2346. Teeny tiny green leaves
2347. Making the most of changed plans
2348. A little time away--much needed
2349. Jeremy is feeling better
2350. "Mom, I know you don't feel very good" dandelion bouquet.
2351. No cough with my cold
2352. Kids strong and healthy to fight colds and coughs
2353. One moment at a time and making it through
2354. A couple children old enough to "get it" when I don't feel good
2355. Aliza happy about her dance performance
2356. Bead weaving art project
2357. A turkey walking across the yard
2358. Feeling considerably better
2359. Spring cleaning the yard
2360. Restful weekend
2361. Thinking about how to make my life really count for something
2362. Flowers in hair
2363. Sisters singing at the top of their lungs
2364. Incredibly smooth day of school
2365. Retired neighbors to put bike chains back on when they come off in the middle of the day
2366. Open windows
2367. Laughter, singing and general happiness coming from children playing outside together
2368. Hearing what my heart needed and realizing my heart still needs work in that area
2369. Praying thanks and nothing more
2370. Excited to feel able to do something for someone else
2371. Excited about possibilities
2372. My Thursday evening ladies--and chai!
2373. Full days at home
2374. All of my sisters (and our husbands, parents and grandparents) visiting together
2375. Aliza's excitement over a new-to-her bike
2376. Cleaned out closet and dresser
2377. Lazy day of rest
2378. Getting my thoughts on paper
2379. Multiple bike rides today
2380. Saying no is so hard but it feels so good to keep my focus in the right place
2381. Before dawn this morning I had to choose to have a good attitude about the day
2382. A house full with 6 children playing happily
2383. Took it to God first
2384. My computer survived a baptism
2385. Embraced the mess
2386. Mobile baby
2387. Accomplished feeling of finishing another year of Bible study and dance
2388. Brian brought Dad's mower up--and shared it. I got to chat with my brother.
2389. Mothers dancing their daughter's recital routine. It was epic. #thismamacantdance
2390. Kept my mouth shut
2391. Maybe too relaxed about company coming
2392. Pink and red azalea blooms