Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thrifty Take

WIWW #10

pleated poppy

Last week Lindsey put out the challenge to include some thrifted pieces in this week's post.
Since I normally have something or other thrifted in most of my posts already, I decided to try a couple completely thrifted outfits.
Or at least almost completely.

Here's what I came up with.

 Top ($3) & Skirt ($3.75): Gap, both thrifted; Belt: my husband's; Bracelet: family heirloom;
Necklace ($3): Mervyn's; Wedges: Clarks

I figured my husband wouldn't notice if I snagged his belt, but he noticed it first thing.
He said it was cute... so maybe I'll be borrowing from him more often!
Do you do that?

Whole outfit thrifted!
Jacket ($6): Mossimo; Top ($3): Dress Barn; Belt ($2): Some gen.u.ine snakeskin; Jeans ($5): Gap

I'm really liking florals again. 
I've never mixed florals and military together, but why not?

Pintuck blouse ($3): ??; Same jeans ($5); Gap... both thrifted;
Shoes: old Payless; Necklace ($4): F21; Bracelets: gift, heirloom

This blouse was a bit big on me.  I was going to take it in, but tying a knot was a lot faster. :)

Do you like to go thrifting?  I hadn't done it in a while and now I'm a bit rehooked.
I got it from my mom... except she loves garage sales.
She always says her car automatically turns when it sees a garage sale sign.

So I guess it's in my blood!!
 Oh, and mom, I'm posting this at midnight cause Josh is up with an ouchy throat!  Boo!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Neighborhood Watch


There's been a series of robberies in my neighborhood recently.  Right on my street, in fact.  It's a little bit unnerving.  The perps have jimmied open doors, and one was found actually in someone's house in the middle of the night.  Yikes... that's a pretty bold thief.

I love leaving doors open... so much so, that flies end up in the house, much to my husband's chagrin.    My perfect door situation would be two sets of white French doors on a wall adjacent to my backyard.  They would be swung open any time it is remotely warm.

Anyway, now I feel like keeping my doors locked all the time, which is a big bummer... I'm not sure if it is better to feel less vulnerable, or to suffocate in the confines of my home while watching the breeze move the branches of my willow tree, yet not being able to breath in the fresh air.  Sigh.  I feel so incredibly melodramatic right now.

The police are frequenting the area, which makes me feel a bit more secure.

They are actually pretty good about patrolling our street.  One night, when Jason was a baby, Patrick was driving around the neighborhood very slowly in the dead of night.  In our dark blue van, I might add.  He got pulled over for suspicious behavior.

What is your business this time of night, the officer asked, shining his mag light in Patrick's eyes.

I'm just trying to get my baby back to sleep, he answered.

The officer understood... he must have been a dad.

Tell me you have done that out of utter exhaustion... we can't be the only ones!

Oh, and would you leave the door open or lock it up tight?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites

"Every day I discover more and more beautiful things." 
Claude Monet

It is quite the dreary morning, 
so I went looking for some of my favorite artwork to brighten things up a bit.

Cliff walk at Pourville by Claude Monet

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Vogh

Children Playing on the Beach by Mary Cassatt

Garden at Vetheuil by Claude Monet
The Seine at La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
Farmhouse in a Wheat Field by Vincent Van Gogh

Do you have a favorite painting that makes you happy and bright inside?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Jonah Test

(All photos taken by my boys.)

Years ago, I went on a hunt for a special picture Bible for Josh.  I wanted it to be detailed, but not so detailed that he couldn't carry the emotional load.  My test was the book of Jonah.  I would take each Bible and read through the story.  I wanted to see both the good and difficult in the story... lessons in obedience, God's grace, redemption as well as the parts where the humanity of Jonah comes through.  Remember the end when he's complaining about the lack of shade?  Life's just not easy when pesky worms gnaw through your plant.

A couple weeks ago, my kids got to participate in a horse camp... and it was one of those activities that definitely passed the "Jonah Test."  

The boys got some amazing time learning to ride these beautiful animals.   By the end of the week they had fallen in love with their new four legged friends, and cried when they had to say goodbye.  That was the good part... the part that came easily.  The part that was relished.

But their week didn't consist only of the "fun."  They got to see what it would be like to actually own horses.  They fed them, groomed them and cleaned their hooves.  And they scooped a lot of horse poop.  I think it was such a good, comprehensive experience.  

Isn't life like that?  You have to take the difficult with the good.  I often get too focused on the difficult parts, but you know what?  Sometimes, you have to scoop a little poop to get to do the things you really love... and it's all so worth it to get to relish the really good parts in the end.

So if there's a moral to this story...

it's 'scoop the poop,' but then take the time to truly ride like the wind. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The One Where I Met Denise

pleated poppy

Ok, I'm very excited about this post. Just read the title and you'll know why!
So let's breeze through these first outfits to get to the good stuff!

Top: Banana Republic, thrifted; Cropped Jeans: Eddie Bauer, thrifted; Scarf: Gift;
Belt: F21; Shoes: Sperrys; Bracelets: Street Vendor & Fair Trade

I didn't particularly like this outfit until I added some green.  Then it was screaming 'Viva La Verde' and 'Look Alive,' and other such things.  I was kind of surprised since my clothes don't normally talk (and it wasn't even Cinco de Mayo, ) but that's apparently the power of green.  I'm going to try it again the next time I'm feeling particularly sleepy.

Cardigan: Target; Tank: Nordstrom Rack; Belt: from some other pants;
CAbi Jeans: Goodwill; Wedges: Clarks

What would you call this color?  Persimmon, maybe?
My youngest son's favorite color is orange, and I think his taste is rubbing off on me a little bit.

Another ring from Cousin Olive.  Isn't it so fun and crazy?
Whilst my outfit was being tame, my finger was going ultra eccentric once again.

And here, my friends is What I Wore when I met DENISE!!!!!

Pintuck Tunic: KMart Clearance; Belt: Goodwill; Jeggings: Gift;
Bracelet: F21; Wedges: Clarks again

Remember when I mentioned a couple weeks ago how I'd love to meet Denise?
Well, it happened last Wednesday!!  My 3 year blogger friend is now my real life friend!

Doesn't she have the best smile??

First off, I have to say that she was super ornery... she refused to let me pay for her coffee and my Icelandic Glacial water.  And second, she is a big liar... she promised she would not vlog, and then she totally did.

Oh,  and thirdly (is that even a word?), she referred to me as her elder at least twice... even though I'm only 2 years, 8 hours and 30-some odd minutes older than she is (yes, we have the same birthday). But, okay. 

However, I am entirely willing to look past these faults, to see that she is...

Beautiful, inside and out


Funny... no hilarious
Crazy (in the best way possible)


An amazing conversationalist
(She could give Lorelai Gilmore a run for her money!)

Authentic and vulnerable
And full of God's grace

I just love her and I miss her already!

Have you met any blog friends?  Were you nervous? (I kinda was.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hailing Yellow Taxi Cabs

Image via

Scaling the Mountain: Part 2
Part of "A Journey to Charis"

(This post regarding my health journey will get a bit more medical and scientific.  
Just thought it may be of some help to someone, which is why I'm including it.)

In my quest to understand what had become some type of polyglandular autoimmune disorder, and specifically Hashimoto's thyroiditis, I came across a book that peaked my interest.  The author, a specialist in treating thyroid disorder, seemed to be the only one on the internet who was truly addressing Hashimoto's as an autoimmune disease.  Why would we treat this disease as a thyroid problem, when it is, in fact, an autoimmune disease, he asked?  I kept wondering about this idea.

I contacted a friend whom I knew was being treated for Hashimoto's.  I  knew she was climbing mountains, water skiing, and dancing... living her life with energy and vitality.  I discovered her doctor was a mere mile from my home and had trained under the author of the book I'd found, Dr. Kharazzian.  This wasn't just a coincidence, but I believe a confirmation from the Lord, that I was on the right track.  I bought the book, read it from cover to cover in a weekend, went to a seminar, and made an appointment to see this doctor as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I began to get a head start and put some of the treatment in action myself, mainly going completely gluten-free for life.  At this point the thyroid hormone I was taking wasn't making a significant difference, and I would have ingested anything if I was assured it would help.  Giving up gluten was really the least of my worries.  

My doctor would describe the necessity of this change in a visually helpful way.  Thyroid stimulating hormones are like passengers looking for taxis.  The carriers of these hormones are like little taxis that take the hormones to the various body systems that utilize them.  The thyroid antibodies (this is were the autoimmune aspect comes into play) are like terrorists who are hijacking the taxi cabs and eating away at the thyroid, so that the hormones can't get where they need to go.  The standard treatment is to supplement with hormones so that they have a greater chance of flagging down the taxis, but this method does not address the problem of the terrorist action.  The terrorists keep multiplying as a result of a faulty immune response.  You can either keep upping the thyroid hormones in order to try and counteract the terrorism, or you can address the immune system so that the the terrorists (antibodies) will dwindle in numbers.

Although the former scenario works for a while, this autoimmune condition left unattended can lead to spleen problems, leading to weight gain in the stomach and thigh area.  It can also lead to other  autoimmune issues such as cancer, diabetes, lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and the like.  While you can never completely turn off the autoimmune response once it has been turned on, it can, in fact, be managed and maintained, reversing the pervasive antibody problem.

Oh, and how does gluten play into this scenario, you ask?  (Get ready to get a little more scientific... )  Gluten and thyroid stimulating hormones have a very similar molecular structure.  Therefore, if there is gluten roaming around in my blood stream, the thyroid antibodies will multiply in response.  If it is my goal to heal my immune response, reduce antibodies, and avoid the development of other autoimmune diseases in the future, I needed to provide the right conditions.  Gluten can stay in one's bloodstream for up to six months, so it's an all or nothing decision.

Well, au revoir gluten... it's been good knowing you, but being healthy is better than you taste.

(**These thoughts are my current understanding of my health issues.  I am definitely not a medical professional... please let me know if you think I may have misstated anything.  Thanks!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Spit Take

(For those of you who have impeccable manners, I do apologize for this post.)

Lately, Joshua has been practicing prat falls to add to his comedic arsenal.  He is getting pretty believable, too, as there have been many times I have run to the sliding door to make sure he is okay, after hearing the crash of his scooter ripping across the pavement, followed by groans of pain.  Just practicing, he'll say.

Yesterday, we were at the park, and Josh launched a projectile of water at the drinking fountain.  His eyes locked on mine, wondering if I would call him out on it.  Instead, I told him he should learn how to do a 'spit take.'  

What's that, he asked. 

It's a comedy gag... you know, like a prat fall or a pie in the face.  One of the characters will say something funny or shocking just when the other character is taking a drink, and then he'll spit it out all over the first character.

Oh ya!  And he and his brother started working on their delivery.  Then I showed them some proper mouth formation to make a really fine mist.  You can cover far more area that way.  We laughed so hard.

Later that evening, I was recalling the time I accidentally did a spit take on Patrick.  We were on our honeymoon, married a mere few days.  Driving through Santa Cruz, we came to a signal, and I took a huge swig of water out of a bottle.  I have no idea what struck me funny at that precise moment in time, but it must have been hilarious, because I turned and spit the entire mouthful all over Patrick's face (in a super fine mist, I might add).  What made it even more amusing was his reaction.  He just sat there, his expression completely unchanged, with large drops of water dripping of his face and onto his shirt.  The pedestrians looked on with puzzled expressions, in utter amazement.  And I was laughing so hard I thought my sides would split.  Patrick wiped his face on his shirt sleeve, the light changed and he just kept driving.  I tried to stifle my laughter through my nose, but his straight man response just made it that much more funny.

As we were saying goodnight, yesterday, I said I was so sorry for spitting all over him.

No, you're not, he replied.  And I started giggling until I fell asleep.

While this may not seem like a big deal, to me it is an evidence of God's grace.  It is evidence that my body is healing and I am conquering depression.  I can laugh at the present and the days to come.  And I am so thankful for that... even if it takes silly things like 'spit takes' to realize it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Missing Piece

Image by Stephen Richer
Scaling the Mountain: Part 1

Months passed.  My physical symptoms continued to worsen, and the depression and anxiety swings became more profound.

I think it's time to talk about the elephant in the room so to speak, said my naturopath.  I think you are suffering clinincal depression and possibly an anxiety disorder.

That was probably true, I admitted.

I left the office with more lab work to check my cortisol levels and my thyroid, since he was "keeping an eye on it." A prescription for Lexapro also stared back up at me.

After I got the lab work done, I sat in the WalMart parking lot wondering if it was wise to start an SSRI... a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, a common type of antidepressant.  I certainly didn't have any objection if that was the answer, yet I felt quite uncertain for some reason.  On the other hand, I was desperate for relief, and this could be my solution.  Praying about it, I felt peace about "wait."  So I did just that, and waited until my lab results came in.  I felt as if God were causing me to hesitate for some reason... perhaps there was another plan.

A few days later, my nurse called.  We need you to come in today and pick up some NatureThroid, she divulged.  You have a common form of hypothyroidism.  

I went in feeling anxious, as this was not a scenario I had given any extensive research.   Paying for a small bottle of thyroid hormones, I asked if this was Hashimoto's and if I would have to take these pills for the rest of my life.  Yes, that was the standard treatment.

On one hand I felt relieved, finally discovering another piece to the puzzle, yet on the other, I felt overwhelmed.  I wasn't sure what Hashimoto's thyroiditis even was.  Another strange cousin to join my family of beleaguering ailments.

Over the days to come, I began researching and asking questions.  There were many friends and relatives of friends who had had experience with the disease.  Some said, Oh it's an easy fix... you just take a little pill every morning.  Others had developed cancer or had their thyroid removed, after taking that "little pill" for a number of years.  A couple were in the same situation I was in, symptom wise, and traveling the same frustrating journey.

Rather quickly, I realized that the "little pill every morning" scenario wasn't the magic cure-all I was hoping for.  In fact, it made very little difference in my symptoms.  I was in a full blown, polyglandular, auto-immune response.  You see, Hashimoto's isn't simply a thyroid condition, it's a autoimmune disease... one, I am sure, that had been festering just below the surface for a while.  Until I pushed my body too far and crashed.

Patrick held and comforted me as I began to accept my new diagnosis.  It made me nauseous, and I wanted to somehow escape my body.  As I grieved over my perceived loss, I decided I wanted to find a doctor who would not just address my adrenal and thyroid glands, but my immune system as a whole.

I wanted to go to the very core... to treat the root of the problem.

Friday, August 12, 2011


"Jason, you need to stop growing.  Why can't you just stay little.  Why?"

"Mom, I have to.  I can't stop this.  I have to get bigger."

We have this conversation often, Jason and I.  And it always ends the same.  He will simply not do what I ask.

Last week, we spent two days reorganizing and cleaning the boys' room.  I purged their closet of piles of clothes.  Clothes Josh had worn, and then Jason.  Last remnants of preschool.  The end of small.

Purging is not an enjoyable task for me, but I understand that it is necessary.  In the end it feels good to let go of the old and make room for the new.  To make room for big and all the new joys and challenges it will bring.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Name-Calling Edition

pleated poppy

I found a vacation photo I'd forgotten about.  Or maybe I subconsciously forgot it on purpose (did that just make any sense?), because I'm not sure if it really works.  The outfit,  I mean.  I like all the pieces, but maybe not all together.  What do you think?  I also feel like my face looks 12 here... but that's a personal problem.  Frank V. didn't call me "chipmunk cheeks" in 10th grade for nothing.  I was much less cool back then, and didn't know how to properly lean against buildings.  But now I do, as you can obviously see.

Jacket: Mossimo, thrifted; Chambray Dress: Tommy Hilfiger outlet clearance; 
Skirt: Marshalls; Belt: F21; Shoes: Clarks; Necklace: Mervyns

Sweater & Shorts: Marshalls; Necklace: gift/Lisa Leonard; Shoes: Naturalizers

I think I'm really liking these shorts.  They are like very short textured trousers.  If I pair them with some black tights, maybe I can keep wearing them into the fall.  I could even try some mustard yellow tights, but on second thought, someone might call me "lemon legs" and that might scar me worse than "chipmunk cheeks."   Anyhoo... where is the best place to buy tights that don't fight you when you are trying to put them on?  I don't enjoy fighting with my legwear.  While we are at it, I don't like legwear I can see my reflection in  either... they remind me of spandex which I already did in metallic royal blue back in 1990.  I suppose I am very picky about my tights, which is something I didn't know about until just now.

Dress: Ross; Necklace: Lisa Leonard; Shoes: Marshalls; Non-Hipster Glasses: Costco

I wear glasses, and it's not because I'm trying to be a hipster.  Even though I can lean against buildings pretty well, I am just not cool enough to be a hipster.  These glasses are not nearly big enough to be hipster glasses either.  Just to keep the name calling theme of this post going... no one has ever called me "Four Eyes."  Probably because I don't wear them out frequently enough.  I usually just wait until a person is within 5 feet of me before I greet them, so I don't accidentally mistake them for someone else.  Anyway, I adore this dress... A. Because it is embroidered and 2. It reminds me of Denise, who owns the same dress in hunter green.  It is my goal to meet Denise someday, and I would definitely wear my glasses so I could recognize her.  I would see her from more that 5 feet away and call... DEEEEENIIIIIIISE!!!!! and she would call out LIIINNNNNDDDA!!!!!  And we would talk and sing and laugh for a long time.  And I wouldn't call her any names... except for Rachel maybe, because she likes that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Snip, snip, snip...

When I was in 4th grade, my teacher organized a career week.  Parents came in and shared about their jobs, training, and day to day responsibilities.  It opened up our world and caused us to ponder what we might like to do later in life... beyond "I want to be a fireman or President of the United States."

One parent came in wearing an apron, her hands full of kitchen tools.  She must be a chef or a baker I remember thinking.  As she began her presentation, we soon discovered that she was a "homemaker."  

That isn't a legitimate career, I thought.  That's what my mom does.  Only as she began to describe her day to day duties, I realized she had a very complex and important job.  I had never seen my own mother in this light, and came to understand the significance and intricacies of motherhood on that day.

Mrs. B's presentation profoundly affected me.  At the conclusion, she took off her apron and removed a pair of long black handled scissors, and with tears in her eyes, she cut the ties of her apron.  I think I gasped, knowing that she had just ruined this article of clothing.  And then I listened, while with tears welling up in her eyes, Mrs. B said that someday her job would be complete and she would let her children go on to be adults who would no longer be tied to her in such a special way.  Mothering was preparing your children so that one day you can cut the apron strings and know that they will be just fine.

Even though my children are still quite young, I am working toward cutting the apron strings... just a bit at a time.   

I am trying not to be a helicopter... the kind of mother that constantly hovers over her children.  Is that safe?  Is he old enough? What if he gets hurt?  Don't you want to try it this way instead?  Hovering when I should perhaps be giving them a bit of space to learn and try and even (gasp) make a mistake here and there.

In the last year, due to my illness, I have not been the ever present mother.  I was worried that they might suffer, being deprived of my input and constant care.  On the contrary, they have thrived and learned, and grown without my hovering supervision.

I learned that Josh can write a 15 page state report... completely on his own, following his teacher's instructions with great diligence.  And get an "A" on it.  He can create his own unique style from his closet... and looking like Justin Beiber is ok.  He can get snacks for his brother and himself, and they have never once come close to starving.  Jason became a proficient reader, swimmer, and skater when I wasn't even looking.  This weekend, his dad took him up to the park with his bike.  No mommy there to worry about a fall.  He rode with courage and pride on the very first try, and when I arrived at the park, he already looked like he'd been doing it all his short little life.

Concentrating so hard...

My baby J-bear is growing up.

There's my cute little Beiber!

The year has been a good reminder to me that my children are a gift, and I have been given a tremendous privilege in being their mother and raising them for a short while.  But ultimately, their lives belong to the Giver.  He has taught me to let go a little bit more, so that when the time comes, I can make that final snip, and I will gently nudge my babies out of the nest so that they can truly fly.  They will soar into the future with what they have learned and the gifts they have been fashioned with, to carve out the life God has graciously given them.

And I will be holding the apron strings with great joy and love in my heart, ready for a new season.

But until then... I will enjoy these wonderful moments.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vacation Edition

pleated poppy

Last week we were able to get away.

So needed... the first time I've traveled in about a year.
We went up to Windsor, CA and the Russian River Valley area... so beautiful.

Praise God... I had a pretty decent energy level and many "good" days.

Peach Cardigan: Target; Pintuck Blouse: ??; Tie Shorts: Marshalls
Necklace: Pic 'N Save from my childhood; Bangle: Gift

I realized I have quite a few white blouses.  
I think they are my favorite tops to wear... maybe 'cause they're so crisp and clean.
This one makes me feel a bit English (which I am) and proper (which I usually am not.)
My friend Jaime said she'd wear more white if she had dark hair... do blondes avoid white?

I got the cardigan at Target after seeing so many WIWWers wear them... 
so comfortable, I must say!  
(Did that sound proper?)
I'm really rambling, aren't I?

Tunic: Old Navy, thrifted; Shorts: Marshalls; Wedges: Clarks

I'm Irish, too,  hence the interest in the sign.
I'm also Scotch, Dutch, and French while we're on the subject of my heritage.
We visited Chateau Montelena in Calistoga on this day, and it was absolutely gorgeous!

I posted more photos over at Little Snap Thoughts... enjoy.

Friendship & Hemp Bracelets: Fair Trade Stores
Rainbow Beaded Bracelet:  DIY crocheted
Red Bracelet & Necklace:  Restrung a thrifted necklace

My arm had a little fun, didn't she?
Patrick bought friendship bracelets for our whole family in the charming little town square of Healdsburg.
I thought that was pretty cute of him.

Well, that's all for this week, folks...
Sorry, but you don't get any up close photos of me in my granny bathing suit.

Monday, August 1, 2011

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Last week we were able to get away up north.
This was really huge for me... first time I've traveled in about a year.

It thrilled my soul to see new and unfamiliar things.
I needed a change from the norm.

We drove through San Francisco, even though it was out of the way.
We wanted the kids to be able to experience the Golden Gate Bridge... 
it was worth it.

The city fascinates you, doesn't it, Patrick asked.

I guess it really does.  

I love to marvel at the architecture.

To watch all the interesting people.

To feel the energy.

But it only lasts for a couple of hours... or a couple of days at the most.

Because I'm a country mouse at heart.

What truly captivates my attention for hours is God's simple, yet complex design...

Trees along the Russian River valley.
Peaceful gliding along the river.
Parking the canoe and enjoying the beach with the fam.
The bridge that marked the 1/3 point.  It was a 10 mile trip... about 5 hours with our stops.

We saw some spotted cows on the way back to the resort.

Patrick pulled over,  because he knew I'd want photos.

Look at her muddy little legs... just like socks.

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse?
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