Do You Fit the Mold?

I was looking into the current events surrounding Celiac Disease today, and found an article posted by a doctor entitled, “Rely on a Pediatrician-Not Parental Suspicion-to Diagnose Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance”.

In my experience, as a mother, Pediatricians haven’t been convinced enough of my children’s symptoms the first time I mentioned them….or repeatedly mentioned them…to feel compelled to look into it.  My sister, who has some children with a mystery illness, has had similar experiences…yep, we’re related.  This is a big part of the reason that many parents feel the need to diagnose or treat their children in a manner that is consistent with whatever food intolerance they believe they have.  What if it works?  What if your child doesn’t fit the mold?

I understand not imagining every sniffle and funky diaper to be a mountain when they are merely mole-hills.  I understand that these people have gone to school for a really long time in order to do what they do, and they should get some credit for possibly knowing what they are talking (or not talking) about.  They are the doctor.   But, mix that with reality and a little good old fashioned watching your children and you should get some credit too.  If it works, there may be something there.  That’s how our journey started, an elimination diet.  It took years to get someone to check our son, Bull, for a gluten intolerance…not just a wheat allergy, or the dairy intolerance that we had been working through for over 2 years.  Sometimes symptoms are pretty similar.

With the increase in over produced foods, and GMO plants we are going to see that even “natural” products that, as the article says, “have been a part of the human diet forever” are going to be identified in the body as food-like products once they lose their genetic identity.  As a mom who never believed in the GMO hype, I am now living it.   When your child has detox symptoms that include vomiting and fever just because you took out wheat, sugar, and all dairy  from your diet….something is terribly wrong.  This was not just the child with celiac, this was ALL of us.  Bodies don’t get the flu from real foods.

Another part of the article that I found interesting was the very pointed plug for “making sure that you balance your child’s diet.”  I can’t tell you how many times that people have given me that glazed look when we tell them our kids don’t get protein from milk sources, or carbs from wheat….but I have found simple alternatives are best.  It is not that hard if you are sticking to the basics.

I say we find a middle ground with the doctors.  If a mom or dad comes to them with a concern, then they treat it with the same level of consideration and exploration that they would for their own child.  Bingo, problem solved.  Less parents taking the diagnosis into their own hands, and more children reaping the benefits of a thorough look…even if it’s nothing.  And, we begin to educate on how to nourish our bodies without copious amounts of dairy and bread products, because food allergies and sensitivities are here, and they aren’t going away unless we change our ways.


Midnight Raids

Our two oldest boys have been waking up at night and sneaking food from the fridge or cupboards.  We usually find the evidence on the counter, floor, in their hair, on their pajamas, everywhere and anywhere.  They are 6 and 5.  Both know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have done something wrong. How do I know?  They tell me they did.  While I am very happy with their honesty, I have been know to lose it a little during these moments of deliberate disobedience.  It is not for lack of food that they do this, merely lack of getting what they want when they want it.  This is also known as selfishness.

When given the opportunity to eat their evening meal, they choose to pick at it and complain that it is not an apple, banana,  or the allergy friendly chocolate chips that are in the cupboard for the occasional “cookie in a mug”.

My newest tactic to combat this midnight kitchen raid has left our 5 year old, Bull, in a bit of confusion.  I calmly discuss what he should be doing, instead of my former fussing and obvious frustration at his disobedience.  He asked me the last two times, “Mommy, are you frustrated at me?”  My reply was, “No.”

Why was I not frustrated?  Bull wanted to know too.  I was not frustrated because there is a natural consequence for this type of disobedience.  I know exactly how many apples, bananas and other things we have in the house (thank you monthly meal plan) and when his sisters get up they will receive theirs while he has to sit and watch.  This is really hard for both the boys, and I believe that it is helping them to see why we don’t sneak things.  They aren’t missing out on the items, they just aren’t enjoying them at the times that their siblings are, and watching someone munch on a banana while you have none is really hard…even as an adult.

I am working on being a more patient mom, no I am not automatically patient because I choose to have larger than average family, despite popular belief.  I am actually just an impatient human like the rest.  God has been working on this in me for a long time.  And, He will be working on me with this for the rest of my life.  I want my kids to grow up seeing peace in my words and actions, not anger and frustration.  I want to model grace and mercy, so that they will come to me when things get tough and they need help, or need to repent.

God doesn’t yell and scream, He sits back and waits for us to come to a place of repentance…that is my hope for my children as they grow and become adults.  To be able to admit when they have done something wrong, and to avoid temptation.

International Asperger’s Day

I was looking through Facebook this afternoon and saw a friend of mine had posted about it being International Asperger’s Awareness Day today.   She too has someone on the spectrum in her home and appreciates the insights and ideas that these people bring to her life and family.

I went to Google and decided to see what this day was about.  I knew that April is Autism Awareness Month, but I didn’t realize that Aspies had a day apart from that.  The website I found that chronicled this day in 2013 elaborates as to its origins here.  It falls on February 18, which was the birthday of Hans Asperger, who the syndrome is named after.  More information on it here.

Asperger’s is what my Big Man and my Hunee have both been diagnosed with.  Both are alarmingly similar to how the woman who wrote the article describes.

Honest to a fault….

Service oriented…..

Devoted to those they love….


And, extremely smart….

Now that Asperger’s has been adopted into the autism spectrum disorders we choose to tell people, if we tell them, that our Big Man is autistic.  People understand more about ASD than they do Asperger’s and there are still a lot of people, and providers, who do not realize that Asperger’s and ASD are one and the same; just a high functioning form of it.

I am grateful that we have the opportunity to raise an individual with autism, and that I am married to one.  It is rewarding, and frustrating sometimes, but they are full of purpose and the promise that God meant for them to be a part of his plan, and mine.


Do All Children Need to be Screened?

Our Journey to an ASD diagnosis for our Big Man was a very frustrating road for me as a Mom.  He was our first child.  He was happy.  He met all of his milestones, including speaking before 2 years old.  He was very social.  He looked “normal.”

I loved our Pediatrician in Oklahoma.  He was a very experienced man.  30 years in Pediatrics, a father, and grand-father.  He knew enough to know what he didn’t know.  Autism was one of those things.  They don’t call it a “spectrum” for no reason.  Our son didn’t have what people would consider to be typical signs, early on.  He loved being with people.  But, the moments he did act like someone on the spectrum, we didn’t know what to do, and the doctor never saw this side of him.

Now, US doctors are unsure that early screening is helpful. They go on to say that their screenings could help children who might otherwise fall through the cracks.  What about the children who still fall through those cracks in spite of the current early screening methods?  Our son was one of them.

We did their questionnaires, we brought our concerns to the doctor, only to be told that it was just a phase that he would grow out of and that he was just being a 2..3..4 year old boy with a lot of energy.  It took a meltdown in his brand-new pediatrician’s office over his shirt being taken off and his pants being pulled down in order for someone to see that their screening had failed…he was “clearly autistic” according to his Neuro-behaviorist’s evaluation a month later.

We recently reached the point of him being in therapy for a year.  This has given me such a clear picture of how far we could have been if early intervention had succeeded for him.  But, I also believe in God’s timing.  When we set out on this parenthood journey we expected the changes that the military lifestyle would bring for our family.  This would have been very hard on our son.  We thought the military would be my husband’s career, and it wasn’t.  We have been able to bring stability and consistency into our lives that wouldn’t have been possible, and this has been the key to his strides in the last year. Most days I no longer feel like I’m making it up every moment.  We have begun to gain a confidence in our parenting that we had been missing in the beginning of this journey.

Do I think that every child should be screened?  No, but I think that it never hurts to pursue the concerns of the people who live with these children, and are feeling the still small voice inside telling them that something is not going right.

I Was Not Prepared…Ooops!

It happened.  The day that I had been planning to avoid, at least for the foreseeable future.  The day where we have to be somewhere at 8:45am.  The day that everything went wrong from the time that I got out of bed, and now we are in a really poor position.  The girls and I had clean hair but…I didn’t have something ready for breakfast.

Yes, I know.  4 kids, one husband, and myself all HANGRY…together.  The baby got to eat though.  Then, I freaked out a little.  I was trying to think of anything to pull out of my fridge or cupboards, only to find that it was leftover day and that meant I had not made anything new, and we were out of time to heat up what was already prepared.  Who wants to eat cold split peas for breakfast?  Anyone?  No takers?

We had to make this weekly appointment.  Big Man desperately needed to see his OT after a month of craziness with trying to get the new one trained and ready to get to a routine with her patients.  He was wound up and really out of sorts.  We left the house, and I honestly didn’t know what we were going to do.

I did the only thing that I could.  We went through the McDonald’s drive through and got packages of apples.  This packaged snack was the only thing that came close to a ‘safe’ item at a restaurant that I could think of, and even then I couldn’t bring myself to read the packaging just in case it turned out to be a total lie.

Thank fully this held the kids over during Big Man and Love’s classes this morning AND I am happy to report that we had another stellar week in the behavior department in the tiny waiting room.  I really think they should have some sort of construction going on every week because it makes my kids want to sit and watch them work, which helped to pass the time for them(they were getting a new water fountain in the waiting room).  When we got home we had a big brunch of eggs, and those leftover split peas that were begging to be eaten before we left the house.

As of 9:00pm we now have recharged our emergency snack cache in the back of our car…I really don’t want this to happen again for a long time.

This is Nicole.  Nicole forgot to plan ahead.  Nicole almost had a mutiny to diffuse.  Don’t be like Nicole….plan ahead please.  Yes, I am talking to myself too.


February Menu plan-GF/DF

With my arm injury I have found that planning our meals by the month has saved my sanity…and my Hunee’s…more than a couple times.  Now that we literally have to eat at home or something we can verify from the grocery store, in a pinch, we have really come to appreciate the menu planning even more.

When I mention the thm book , with a page number, it is the first published book in the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  I do not receive any monetary gain by you clicking on the link or purchasing the book.  We do this plan in our home and I believe it fits very well into our current food restrictions and my husband and I are seeing some weight loss already from doing it.

Our children eat a popcorn snack mid-day, and I usually season it liberally with coconut oil and this seasoning blend from Whole New Mom. I will add links to the things I have links for in the menu plan.  I also do 2 whole days of leftovers per week, usually Wednesdays and Sundays for us because we have church on those days.

This plan is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one snack and/or a dessert daily. ****Feeding 6 people daily***
1 – Baked Oatmeal( E) ,Chicken Basil Stir Fry Soup(FP), Sweet potato p. 306 thm book (E), Choco Pudding p.366 thm(FP)
2- Leftovers(B, L, D)
3- Morning Quinoa p. 227 thm( E), Tender beef stew p. 309 thm book #1(S), Mexican crockpot beans( E)and rice (E), Skinny chocolate(S)
4- Eggs and greens(S), Tuscan Soup ( E), Baked chicken and Cruchy Tangy Coleslaw(S), Oat Cake for 1 ( E)
5- Leftovers(B, L, D), Skinny chocolate(S)
6- English Muffin and egg(S), Nourishing Root Soup ( E),  Cheesburger pie p.326 thm(S)and veggie, MIM(S)
7- Soft baked eggs p. 219 thm(S), Red and Green Enchilada Soup (s), Quick tuna medley p.306 thm( E) and veggie, Kettle Corn ( E)
8- Pancakes( E), Thai Chicken Noodle Soup (FP), Egg Roll in a bowl(S), Oat Cake for 1 ( E)
9- Leftovers(B, L, D) we also had my husband’s birthday cake this day(not thm plan approved)
10- Scones( E), Chicken satay soup p 336 thm book #1(S), Pizza(S or E toppings) and raw veggies, Overnight Oatmeal( E)
11- Scrambled eggs and veggies(S), Crockpot Mediterranian Split Pea Soup ( E), Big Mac Salad(S), Almond Fluff Cookies(S)
12- Leftovers(B, L, D), MIM(S)
13- Protein Shake(S, FP), Crockpot Blackbean Soup ( E), Simple Spaghetti Sauce(S)and broccoli, Oat Cake for 1 ( E)
14- Baked Oatmeal( E), Easy Tuscany Tomato Soup (FP), Crockpot Cashew Chicken(S), Nightly Custard(FP)
15- French Toast Porridge( E), Cauliflower Bacon Chowder (S), Spicy Quinoa Fritters(E and veggie), Skinny chocolate(S)
16- Leftovers(B, L, D), Kettle Corn ( E)
17- Eggs and greens(S), Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup(S), Mexican crockpot beans(E) and rice, Overnight Oatmeal( E)
18- Superfood bars(S), Black-eyed pea gumbo ( E), Pizza(S or E toppings) and raw veggies, MIM(S)
19- Leftovers(B, L, D), Oat Cake for 1 ( E)
20- Protein Shake(S, FP), hearty Green soup p. 334 thm book #1( E), Baked Chicken and veggies (S), Skinny chocolate(S)
21- Scones( E), Just Like Campbells’ Soup p. 292 thm (S), Dirt-E Rice ( E), Tummy Tucking Ice Cream(S)
22- Cinnamon Quinoa Bake( E), Cream of Chicken Soup (FP), Simple Spaghetti Sauce(S)with broccoli, Kettle Corn ( E)
23- Leftovers(B, L, D), MIM(S)
24- Eggs and greens(S), Buffalo chicken soup(S or E), Chef Salad(S), Overnight Oatmeal( E)
25- Baked Oatmeal( E), Just Like Campbells’ Soup (S), Sweet and Spicy Skillet Rice and Beans( E), Skinny chocolate(S)
26- Leftovers(B, L, D), Tummy Tucking Ice Cream(S)
27- Pancakes( E), Crockpot Mediterranean Split Pea Soup ( E), Honey Garlic Chicken Wings and Veggies(S), Kettle Corn ( E)
28- Cinnamon Apple crunch( E), Cream of Chicken Soup (FP), Nacho “cheese” broccoli(S), MIM(S)
29- Scrambled eggs and veggies(S), Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup(S), Shipwreck casserole( E), Oat Cake for 1 ( E)
30- Leftovers(B, L, D), Skinny chocolate(S)

We do end up having to restock some fresh items like apples, bananas, and Lettuce, but for the most part all of this was bought and then frozen or stored until needed.

I do not have time to coupon in this season of our life, but we do buy in bulk from Costco for a lot of things.  If something isn’t linked to a recipe and you ever needed it, just comment and I will see if I can find it.  Even if there is dairy in the recipe linked, we do substitute it our using coconut products or almond milk.


Why Can’t I Have Normal Children?

Wednesday is our therapy day, or it used to be until Momma had to be added to the therapy list, so now it is just our busiest therapy day.  Today Big Man and Love “go to class” and I sit in the very tiny waiting room with my entourage, and now a giant bag of things, to keep them occupied.

We tend to get noticed.  Little old, or young, ladies with fond memories of their own children or hopes of having some in the future.  Men who are brave enough to approach such a group of little people and try to engage them for a minute or two before their own appointment time comes.  Then we have the ever repeated, “wow, your hands are full!” or similar comments….but they don’t see the other one, or sometimes two, that are in their classes.

Some days go very well, like today, and the three or 4 who are with me behave well and are happy and have appropriate voice volume in such a small space.  Then, we have the days, like last week, when we have to ask the therapist to be notified that we will be in the car waiting for the session to be over.  These are the days where I find myself asking the question, “Why can’t I have normal children?”  Ones who don’t have speech or sensory issues, and we can just focus on things at home and don’t require outside help.

I don’t know where this idea of “normal” comes from.  All kids are in training to learn to control their actions and emotions from the time they are very young.  They all have days where they remember this training, and days where they choose to ignore it.  And, as my great-aunt says, “training is hard.”  She’s right.  One step forward, two steps back sometimes.  Add to that some sensory, neurological issues, and speech impediments, and you have the perfect storm for frustration, and even anger or resentment if you let it go on.

I was thinking on my way home that I had steeled myself for a repeat performance of last week.  My kids, had proven me wrong.  Why did I do that?  Work myself up; bracing for a battle, that never came.  Because I was focusing on the wrong thing.  I was focusing on what I think other people think of me.

My job is to train these children, no matter the things they struggle with. To show them how much I love them, and how much God loves them.  We have tools now.  We have seen progress, and will continue to.  I had forgotten my goal.  To train young men and women to BECOME God fearing adults in the future, not to act like adults right now, they are children and that time will come.  Proverbs 22:6-Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it

I think as moms who have children with special needs we tend to feel every hurtful side comment, or direct ones, from everyone.  We replay them over and over in our minds in many situations, and try to prevent that one moment or behavior from ever happening again, and then maybe we will get our “good momma” title back.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…good mommas have kids who make naughty decisions sometimes.  Good mommas have kids who throw fits in the middle of Walmart, or meltdowns as our case may be.  Good mommas have kids who have sensory issues.  Good mommas have kids who don’t sit still, and ask men and women in the waiting room very intrusive questions(yes, I have one of those kids).

Don’t let yourself keep a running tally of everything your children do wrong, or every hurtful comment made.  People don’t know your story, only God does, he’s the author of it after all.