Something new for 2010

January 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm (*)

Since it is quite obvious that I have issues updating this thing (insert a sizeable amount of contempt here), I’ve decided to try something new.   I stole this from Sara, who is using Peggy’s format.

Outside my window… cloudy skies, a gentle breeze.

I am thinking… about how stress is affecting my life and contemplating how to get rid of today’s headache.

I am thankful for… a wonderful husband who never gives up on me.

I am wearing… (do I really have to divulge this?)  my soft, fuzzy, purple bathrobe…at 12:11 pm.
I am hearing… the dryer, The Baby Story, and a certain little girl who should be sleeping.

I am reading… the last few chapters of the UltraMind Solution (a MUST read for anyone dealing with depression, brain fog, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, or autism) and Mormonism 101.

I am hoping… for a light at the end of the tunnel?

On my mind… courses of action we need to take with Benjamin to see even more improvement, finances (or lack thereof), and how the two relate.

Highlights from the week… Loved singing on the worship team this week.  Good songs, great team.

Good football games on Sunday.  I got killed in the Playoff Challenge, but it doesn’t help when you choose a quarterback who is on a first-round bye.  Oh well, more good football next Sunday.  (Oh and getting to see my sister-in-law jump up and down and scream at the tv while she’s 5 months pregnant?  That makes my day!)

Pondering these words… “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19)

From the kitchen… pizza (which turns out translucent if you don’t use eggs), salmon potato soup, sweet and sour chicken, Cuban sandwiches, chili, lemon/artichoke chicken

Around the house… just trying to keep my head above water on this one.

One of my favorite things… a nice quiet, hot bath.

A picture to share with you…


I saw this in the parking lot at work a few days ago. 🙂


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Random Thoughts

November 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm (*)

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated and I don’t have a real update.  Just random thoughts floating around and this is such a good place to unload them!

First, let’s talk about reading the Bible.  In our 8 years of attending Calvary Chapel, one thing that has been drilled into our heads is that we must be reading through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.  Daily.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried.  Never succeeded (though I’m pretty sure I lied and said I did to win a game at AWANA once…sorry Mom!).  I usually stay on track until, um, Numbers?  That’s where it gets pretty bogged down with geneology and such.  No matter which “program” I tried, I just couldn’t do it.  I’d get bored, I’d forget, I’d skip a few days…then just quit.  Until now.  One day about 3 months ago, I was sitting mindlessly in front of the computer reading the blog of the wife of the worship leader at CC in Colorado Springs.  She mentioned the Bible reading system she uses and I was intrigued.  Turns out, this system is incredible.  If you do a search for Prof. G. Horner’s Bible Reading System, you will find instructions.  I’ll give you the basics here:

  • there are 10 lists, each with groups of books or a book from the Bible
  • each day, read one chapter from each list, in succession
  • when you get to the last chapter of the last book on the list, start over
  • getting through the longest list takes 250 days
  • Proverbs and Acts will be read almost once a month

The end.  It’s really that easy.  Now, I know that reading 10 chapters seems like a lot, but it’s not that bad.  I’m usually done in 20-25 minutes.  The best part is that I’m excited about reading my Bible!  There is so much more I could say, but you just need to check it out.


I read an article the other day in the Living Without magazine about genetic testing for celiac disease.  Basically, if you use a reputable laboratory, they will test for the presence of two genetic markers.  A positive result does not indicate that you have celiac, rather that the predisposition is there.  Additionally, a positive result is not a predictor of the likelihood of developing celiac.  However, the absence of these markers means the chance is low.  Here’s where it gets interesting: we’ve had genetic testing done on Benjamin.  I never really paid much attention to the results until now.  Going back and looking at them, he has both the genes that predisposes him to gluten sensitivity and celiac sprue, as well as the non-celiac gene that predisposes him to gluten sensitivity.  This means that both Jarid and I have at least one copy of the gluten sensitive gene.  Oh, how I wish I had the money to take the test for me and find out, once and for all!


And just a final random thought, spurred by a comment I had written in the margins of my Bible…Are there areas of your life where you are allowing the Lord to remove only part of the sin?  Are there areas of your life where you know you need to change, but refuse to do it 100% out of stubbornness?  I’ve been doing that for a while with food and such, refusing to give up my “must -haves”, even though I knew they were making me sick.   And that’s just food.  Think what sin can do to us!

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Monday Madness

September 14, 2009 at 9:33 am (*)

Long overdue, I know…

1.  Kaiya has the croup.  She seems to be more susceptible to it than Benjamin ever was, which is odd.  At least now we are used to it and know what to do.  By the time I’m done with her, the poor girl will have garlic seeping out her pores!

2. It’s still hot in Arizona.  I am so ready for summer to be over.  Cool mornings, cool evenings, sleeping with the windows open, a break in our utility bill…I’m ready.

3. Benjamin is doing so well in kindergarten.  The first few weeks were an adjustment, but he really seems to have settled in.  I am absolutely amazed at his progress since a year and a half ago.  Really, before we started the gluten and casein free diet, I honestly thought we would have to homeschool him.  But now, you’d never know that there are some underlying issues.  Obviously, his diet is the biggest factor in his improvement, but I really think it’s the combination of diet, supplements, routine, and basic social learning at school.  Last night, I just sat and stared at him, really just in awe of how far we’ve come.  I look at him now, watching him play and listening to him talk, and I realize that he’s back: the sweet, intelligent, funny little boy that we thought was gone….he’s there!!!

4. I am going through a phase of food obsession right now.  I am finding that I really love to cook, and now that I have a solid grasp on gluten/casein free cooking, it is so much fun!  Food Network is my favorite channel on television and the majority of our recorded shows are cooking shows.  I taking a menu from one of the FN shows and transforming it into a cheap, Benjamin-safe meal.  Of course, we don’t exactly have a money tree growing in our backyard, so I’m lacking some of the equipment necessary to really show off my passion…but, you work with what you have, right?

5. Basketball season is quickly approaching and we are excited to see what Jarid’s JUCO schedule will look like this year.  He will be doing both men’s and women’s games, so that is just another step in the right direction.

6. I am working on another blog/website that I hope to have up and running soon.  It is aimed more at what we are doing with Benjamin and will feature converted recipes, how-to’s, resources, and general information regarding his condition.  My hope is that even one other family might find the site and be encouraged and helped through it.  I’ll keep y’all posted. 🙂

7. I think Arizona is bad for my health…constant headaches, fatigue, onset of allergy-type symptoms.  Yuck.

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Big Sky Country 2009

August 8, 2009 at 7:47 am (*)

(This is a super picture-heavy post.  It was just too hard to skip some of the pictures.  Because of the way WordPress works, I was not able to put text underneath a group of pictures without labeling each picture.  Instead, I gave a brief narrative of our trip and followed with the bazillion pictures.  Enjoy!)

So…what a joy it was to be home.  I can’t believe how much I missed Montana and wanted to stay.  I truly thought through the repercussions of not returning to Arizona.  I can honestly say I wouldn’t miss much (besides Orley, Julie, Tara, and Adam)!  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Montana so green.  Jarid and I were in awe as we drove from Billings to Bozeman.

Originally, we had planned to fly into Missoula, where we would be able to spend time with our good friends, Brian and Rachelle Wiggins.  Unfortunately, Allegiant cancelled our flight into Missoula and it ended up being quite a bit cheaper to rebook into Billings.  However, we decided to meet the Wiggins family at Fairmont for a quick picnic.  It was such a joy to see them and Rachelle and I felt like we picked up right where we left off in Colorado Springs!  The kids had a blast together, too.

One morning, we took the kids to Cameron Bridge to go fishing.  I had packed their fishing poles (Lightning McQueen and Disney Princess poles, of course!) just for fun, so we had to make a quick trip.  Well, that quick trip turned into quite an adventure, as Kaiya caught a 14-inch trout!  Benjamin didn’t have as much luck, but was pretty excited for Kaiya…until it was time to clean and gut the fish. 🙂  Boy, was that fish yummy!!!

Much of our trip was spent with family.  We had a bbq one night, where Kaiya made her first appearance with the Tofslie family.  I think Kaiya is the oldest of all the “greats” that Nana had yet to meet, so that was a special time, as well.  It was a blast to see everyone together, even though there were many faces missing as well.  Of course, an Tofslie gathering isn’t complete without a nice, serious family picture.

A “must-see” for Jarid during the trip was Lone Mountain.  So we headed to Big Sky one morning, with hopes of taking the gondola to the peak.  No such luck, as it apparently doesn’t run during the summer (and would have cost an arm and both legs).  No worries, though, as it was still beautiful and we hiked to Ousel Falls instead.  Again, we were amazed by how green it was!

In the midst of enjoying the beauty of Montana, we took time out to attend my 10-year reunion.  We had fun visiting with my classmates, reminiscing and catching up with everyone.  Unfortunately, I failed to bring my camera to any of those events!

Of course, our trip wouldn’t have been so memorable without the amazing hospitality of Miss Jude.  Miss Jude is the mom of one of Jarid’s friends from high school and she graciously opened her beautiful home to us.  Each morning we were greeted with an exquisite view of the Bridgers.  More than one evening was spent chatting with Jude, just enjoying her company.

Benjamin and Kaiya were treated to a trip to the park with my cousin, Spencer, and two of his close friends.  They had such a blast and stayed out WAY past their bedtime!

We were also able to enjoy a quick lunch with my former pastor and his wife, along with my parents.  It was such a joy to see Jerome and Harriet Jackson and catch up, even if just for a short while.  Unfortunately, we didn’t think to get pictures of our visit!

And finally, what’s a trip to Bozeman without hiking the “M”?  It was somewhat of an impromptu trip, but we all made it to the top, even climbing the hard way!

When all was said and done, I realized how much I miss Montana and green landscape!  We might not ever be able to feasibly live in Montana, but it will always be home.  Our trip back just gave me more resolve to find our way back north, at least to Colorado!

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Since a certain someone keeps nagging me…

June 5, 2009 at 8:33 pm (*)


Here is a long overdue update to the blog!

I had kind of hoped that if I waited long enough, this thing would update on its own, kind of like my computer automatically installs updates.  No such luck.

Not much is new in the Sinkler household.  The Arizona heat is upon us once again, and I am finding it hard to believe that this will be our third summer here.  Everyone says that you will eventually get used to it and your body will acclimate.  They’re lying.  It gets hard when it’s so hot outside, because you run out of things to do.  My children might not agree, but you canNOT spend every waking minute at the pool!!  Thankfully, our A/C is fully functional again.  We knew a moment of panic last week when the inside temperature said 86 degrees and the A/C would not turn on.  Blech!

This morning I took Benjamin in for his Kindergarten testing.  Is it really possible that I have a child who will go to school this fall?  (This summer, really, as Chandler goes “year round” and they start July 27.)  It’s rather nerve-wracking to think about all of the areas we need to address with his teachers and the school regarding his diet, but I’m really trusting that God will lead us through this with relatively few bumps and wrinkles.

Basketball camp season is under way and Jarid will be traveling to Colorado at the end of the month for one such camp.  This is essentially a job interview for a particular athletic conference.  Of course, we are hoping and praying this leads to good things, but still leaving it up to the Lord.

Kaiya is growing like a weed.  She’s very much into aggravating her older brother, yet knows how to brown-nose and take care of him when necessary.  She has become an excellent little swimmer, just like Benjamin.  Both kids are now able to swim without lifejackets or floaties…and they never took swim lessons!!  I’m so thankful they are not afraid of the water, especially down here!

I suppose the biggest news is that I am contemplating returning to school.  Everything is set for me.  All I would need to do is show up to class the first day.  However, it’s a pretty big decision, with many implications.  Again, we covet your prayers as we move forward with this.  Oh, and my major?  Human Nutrition.  Not that you were surprised!

I think that’s all for now.  I’ll leave you with some pictures of a recent Sunday afternoon drive in Arizona.

Much love!

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Long Overdue Monday Madness

April 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm (*)

I haven’t felt like writing much lately…so I haven’t.  There really isn’t a good reason, other than that I felt like all I had to write about was how I’ve had the “blahs”.  Sometimes it’s better to keep that to myself, ya know?


1.  It’s getting warmer here.  As in, almost 100 degrees.  As much as I despise the heat, at least that means we’ll get to spend time in the pool.  Have I mentioned that my kids are little fish?  They LOVE to swim.

2. Jarid’s official 2008-2009 basketball season is done.  He ended up with a few great high school tournament games and was an alternate for some of the final rounds.  Camp season starts near the end of May, which is always crazy.  One camp in May, two in June, and then July is upon us.  (See number 3!)  The big camp will be in Colorado this year, which is essentially a job interview for a Division 1 conference.  We’ll keep you posted!

3.  July brings a much needed, long overdue trip to Montana.  I’m not sure it’s possible to convey how much excitement I feel about this…I think it’s safe to say I’m bursting at the seams with anticipation and I’ll probably kiss the ground when we step off the airplane!  My, ahem, 10 year reunion will be held during our time there, so we will enjoy that along with spending time with friends and family.  This will be the first time any of my dad’s family has met Kaiya, and most of them haven’t seen Benjamin since he was maybe 6 months old (?).  I guess you kinda get forgotten when you move to the desert, huh?  🙂

4. Easter was low-key for us, as Kaiya had a pretty nasty cold.  It was easy to keep our focus on the true meaning of Easter, as the commercialized aspect of the holiday isn’t exactly friendly for gluten/casein-free kiddos!  No worries though, because it melts my heart to hear Ben or Kaiya tell people that “Easter is not about Easter eggs filled with jelly beans, it’s all about God’s Son!!!”

5. My trip to Colorado was incredible.  See some of the pictures below.  It started a little rough, with my flight being cancelled due to the blizzard in Denver.  In the end though, it was a blast to see a good friend and relax and laugh with my parents.  We played a few games of Catan, enjoyed the cool weather, and I took one nice, long, hot bath, free of interruptions!  I can’t wait for my next “refresher trip”…though Jarid said it will be several years before I get to leave him alone again!

6. Please be in prayer for us as we continue to make more decisions about our future.  Though I’m not ready to share all of the details quite yet, I will say that through our journey and adventure with Benjamin, the Lord has given me quite a passion in the area of health and nutrition.  We are excited to see where the Lord might take that passion…  🙂

7. Just a quick note of praise: so far, even with our failing economy, Jarid’s job remains stable.  It appears that, at least in Arizona, the health/fitness/nutrition sector seems to be holding up.

I think that’s probably all for now.  I’ll try not to go so long between updates, I promise!

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The end of an era?

February 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm (*)

Things are changing around here.  Some might say it’s the end of an era.  The end of a slightly obsessed era.

Okay, okay.  I’m just kidding myself if I think it will end that easily.

But seriously, things are changing.

When I started this blog, it seemed appropriate to give it the Slightly Obsessed title, because that’s precisely what I had become.  Slightly Obsessed.

It started with obsessing over sleep.  Benjamin didn’t sleep easily very early on.  It was rough and we would get up 10 times a night with him.  I heard about “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” and read the entire book in one night.  We put the ideas into practice and it worked.  I was so tired, but so relieved that soon everything revolved around Benjamin’s sleep schedule.  We couldn’t do many play dates because they were usually right when he needed to have his morning nap.  Any errands and lunch had to be done in the two hour window before he needed his afternoon nap.  Nothing could be done in the evening if it meant being out past 6:30, his bedtime.  And God help you if you woke my sleeping boy.

Next, it moved to obsessing over high fructose corn syrup.  After all, that stuff makes a kid hyper.  And hyper kids don’t sleep.

The HFCS obsession led to an obsession with label reading.  If high fructose corn syrup was on the label, I refused to buy it.  Oh, I was an expert.  I think I could spot it in exactly .1896 seconds.

Next we moved to sugar in general.  Then refined flour.  Absolutely none allowed in the house. The stuff is awful for you.  The more refined it is, the more it affects your blood sugar, which affects your mood.  And your sleep.  Of course those had to go!

About that time, I came to realize that I needed to lose the baby weight from Kaiya.  Thus began the whole food, wholesome cooking obsession.  Juice fasts, cleanses, the whole works.

But something still wasn’t right.  It was also around this time that I started noticing behavior issues with my little boy.

So I moved on to become obsessed with reading parenting books.  I have an entire shelf lined with parenting books.  Of course, at the top was “The Strong Willed Child”.

But no parenting book, no discipline technique could tame my child.

Still I took to the internet researching the bizarre behaviors I was noticing with Benjamin.  I would literally spend hours each day on the internet.  Google became my best friend.  I’m a genius when it comes to searching the net.

I wasn’t pleased with what I was finding, what each search kept leading me back to, but I continued.

We started the gluten/casein free diet.  And it worked.  Then we had the positive lab result, confirming our suspicions.

I believe Jarid’s exact words to me were, “It’s working, honey.  Now you can stop researching.”


It was working, but I felt like we kept hitting a brick wall.  So I kept researching.  I started finding that potatoes can be a problem for a child with food intolerances.  And apples.  And I needed to know how enzymes play a role in all of this.  Then I found out about yeast.  So I needed to know how to cook for a yeast-free diet.

And don’t forget that we really needed to look at the vaccine/antibiotic link.

Then we needed to figure out if Benjamin could tolerate raw milk products.  And how does raw milk differ from pasteurized milk?

Oh, and don’t forget the whole “Soy Drama” of ’07.

And all of the time spent looking for recipes.  Not just recipes for meals, but recipes for homemade ingredients.

I’ll just make my own coconut milk.  I’ll just make my own almond milk.  I need to make my own cough syrup.  But I need to research the best method.

Honestly, this is such a small, skewed picture of what my life has become.  Slightly Obsessed is an understatement.  A lie, really.

I’m now addicted to the internet, addicted to researching.  Addicted to learning about how to cope with this.

And now it’s come to a crashing halt.

And I’m more happy than you could imagine.

We finally met with a doctor in Scottsdale yesterday.  She is absolutely an answer to prayer.  We spent two and a half hours in her office, most of the time spent with her asking questions and really delving into the details of Benjamin’s behavior.  She is very knowledgeable about the gut/brain connection and agreed with the direction we have gone with Ben’s diet.  She had even looked over the lab results and called the lab to discuss the test we did for him!

When we arrived, I had resigned myself to receiving a “diagnosis” and just getting on with our lives.  But by the time we had left, she had renewed our hope that we can truly recover Benjamin’s body from all of this garbage.

She gave us an action plan.  Everything she suggested was stuff I’d read about, researched, and even tried.  We knew the “what”, she gave us the “how”.  And very specific steps.

So, here’s the plan for the first few weeks: 1) add calcium (in the right form) since we don’t do milk, 2) start a very detailed and slow introduction of nystatin to kill the yeast, 3) start probiotics to repopulate his intestines with good bacteria (this probiotic will also help break down some of the harmful proteins if they slip through!!), and 4) start giving him good cod liver oil (tested for heavy metals and PCB’s).  After two weeks, we’ll do a phone appointment to see where we are.

I really cannot describe the sense of relief in being able to hand all of this over to her.  I get to stop being the doctor and start being Benjamin’s mommy.

In that regard, I’m not even sure where to start.  I’m so used to parenting from behind the computer.  Too much stuff to research to get up and play or take care of my kids.  Really.  That was my life.  I had convinced myself that I was being a better parent by “figuring it all out”.  I was on a mission.  It literally consumed every spare moment I had.

But I’m handing it over.

Maybe now I can sit at the computer and use that time to reconnect with friends.  Maybe now I can spend time playing with my kids or making forts with them or cleaning my house (nah!).  Maybe now we can look at what the real discipline issues are.  Maybe now I’ll have time to call and talk to family.  Sheesh, maybe we can even go see them! Maybe bed time won’t be such a big deal.  Maybe I can breathe a little.

Sure, I’ll still have to make sure he doesn’t eat stuff he shouldn’t eat.  I’ll still have to cook most of our meals at home (which I love doing anyway!).  And really, old habits die hard.  I’m sure this won’t be an easy transition.

But I’m letting her take over and I’m getting my life back.

It’s the end of an era.

Thank you, Lord!!!!

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Monday Madness, a little late

January 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm (*)

1. Received a notice in the mail that we had 30 days to claim our abandoned vehicle.  I just hate it when I forget to drive my car home and instead, leave it parked on the side of some random road on the other side of town!  It turns out someone abandoned the “Crunchy Honda” and they show that it’s still registered to us, even though we traded it in at the Honda dealership.  Good thing I have proof of trade, otherwise we would have had to pay $938 (and counting!) in storage fees.

2. Found out why they use turmeric as a food colorant.  It colors everything, including tables and counters!  Turmeric is a yellow spice that contains curcumin, a known anti-inflammatory.  I’ve been adding it in wherever I can while cooking, but I guess I need to be a little more careful about splashes and spills!

3. Received notice for jury duty today.  While I absolutely don’t mind carrying out my civic duty, I’m a little bitter that I have to serve in the court that just issued me a speeding ticket!  Boo.

4. Started the process to register Benjamin for kindergarten.  It didn’t really occur to me that I needed to start looking at all of that until about a month ago.  I feel like it’s a half-hearted attempt, because I’d really rather register him for school in Colorado!!!  It’s a scary process, too, because there will be a lot to look at as far as his diet goes.  And there is an early intervention screening they do for us.  Should be interesting.

5. Feeling pretty restless and unsettled again.  Jarid and I are in constant prayer over the decisions we face in 2009, praying that we would remain in God’s will.  Of course, part of that prayer is that His will for our lives would include moving back to Colorado!

6.  Found a nice little Christian bookstore and tea shoppe today, not too far from our house.  Actually, it’s right by the school Benjamin is supposed to attend this fall.  They have a nice play area for kids and a fairly good selection of books.  They hold private tea parties and serve a wide variety of loose leaf teas.  Great atmosphere and nice ladies that own it.  I know that my coffee addition will mostly likely be broken with tea, so I’m sure I’ll spend quite a bit of time there. 🙂

7. Ben ate some licorice while we were in North Dakota, so we’re dealing with the fallout from that.  It was my fault that he got ahold of it.  Really, I may as well as shoved it in his mouth….left it right on his bed at bedtime.  My mom (God bless you, mom!!!), upon finding out, immediately started praying and had several others praying for Benjamin.  I’d say the Lord answers prayers because the reaction hasn’t been as severe as before.  Whew.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures from North Dakota.  I really, really miss the snow.  And small towns.  And grain mills.  🙂

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Christmas, Goodbyes, and Happy New Year!

December 31, 2008 at 2:40 pm (*)

I meant to write while we were in Colorado, but I just never got around to it.  I was enjoying being home.  Yep, HOME.  In Colorado.



Unfortunately, our trip back home did not start as we had planned on Tuesday morning.  As Jarid and the kids were on their way to see his grandma before our flight left, he received the news that she had passed away.  Jarid’s dad had just flown back from Denver the night before and was able to see her and talk with her.  While our hearts are absolutely broken at having to say goodbye, we are so thankful for the time she was able to spend with us for the last two months.  I am especially grateful that Benjamin and Kaiya were able to see her and spend time getting to know her.  What a trooper Grandma Mary was to trek down here in her already-frail condition!  Through all of this, we are resting in God’s sovereignty.  We will be flying to North Dakota this Sunday for her memorial service, so we would appreciate your prayers as we travel and support Jarid’s dad though this.

Even with Grandma Mary passing, Jarid made the decision (with his dad’s blessing) that we should not cancel our trip to Colorado.   So we packed it up and headed to the airport (what a bittersweet feeling!).  We only dealt with a few disasters, the first of which was Kaiya’s announcement at the airport that she had a little accident in her pants.  Fortunately, it was a small, albeit stinky, disaster.  I think maybe she had a little bit of an upset stomach, because she needed to use the bathroom once as we were getting ready for takeoff (and I was informed that if I went into the bathroom with her, they would delay the flight to show the movie again) and once as we were about ready to begin our descent into Colorado.  Oh yes, the timing and urgency of a child’s bowel movements are nothing to be messed with.

We probably weren’t two feet out the door at the Denver airport before I realized just how much I’d missed Colorado and the cold weather.  I was honestly worried that I’d be a little bit of a pansy and that maybe I’d already begun adapting to Arizona climate.  Not so.  Thank you, Lord!!!  🙂

Our trip was a whirlwind of activity (from a gluten/casein/everything else-free mommy’s standpoint!), but we had so much fun.  In no particular order:

  • We took a day trip to Casper, WY to see my grandfather.  I think it’s been almost two years since I’ve seen him and it was rough for me.  With Grandma Mary passing away, that aspect of life is fresh on my mind and I’m pretty sure my grandpa won’t be far behind.
  • One afternoon was spent up near Estes Park, enjoying real life Jingle Bells.  We went on a sleigh ride and had fun singing “Dashing through the snow, on a two-horse open sleigh…”.  It was cold and snowing and absolutely perfect.  Beautiful.  Just how I’d pictured it.  We ended up back at the lodge after the sleigh ride where the kids played in the snow and then enjoyed hot chocolate and sat by the fire.  Benjamin gulped down his hot (coconut milk) chocolate while nursing the fresh cut on his chin…too much fun sledding!
  • Family photos.  All ten of us.  Coming soon.  Enough said.
  • All four kiddos had fun at Jumpin’, the bouncy air thingy place.  Benjamin and Kaycee were best buddies, running from one structure to another holding hands and going down the slides together.  Haylee and Kaiya had a blast going on one slide again and again and again.
  • Christmas Day started with a treasure hunt and opening all the gifts.  Of course, Grandma and Grandpa “forgot” that there was supposed to be a limit on the gifts.  🙂  Unfortunately, the suitcase with all of the presents is still sitting at United in the Phoenix airport.  Boo.
  • Church on Sunday morning was good for me.  And I didn’t even hear the sermon!  I spent most of the morning spying on my kids during Sunday School.  I’ve never taken time to see how they act with other kids, outside of my presence, so it was very eye opening for me.  Surprisingly (to me!), they did very well.  Toward the end of the service, I ended up chatting with a mom who is going through the exact same thing with her son, as we are with Benjamin.  She’s about 5 years into it though, so she was a great source of encouragement and information.  What a blessing for me!
  • Benjamin and Kaycee whooped up on Grandpa and Uncle Andy at the bowling alley.  Benjamin actually got a strike!  We won’t mention that he used a ramp to guide the ball…..
  • We did get to play in the snow with nice weather, once.  It was just a skiff of snow in my parents’ back yard, but enough to throw at each other and pull the sled around.  Jarid was feeling a tad sick, but refused to miss an opportunity to play with his kiddos in the snow.
  • Kelli and Andy brought their Wii, so I obliged Kelli and played Guitar Hero with her.  I stink at it.  And I got whooped by Kaycee at tennis.
  • Most evenings were spent playing “Settlers of Catan”.  It’s our new favorite game.  Kind of like “Risk”, but not really at all.  Way more fun.  We warned everyone that they’d be addicted by the time we left and we were right.  Dad, Mom, Kelli, and Andy were very skeptical at the beginning, but mom proved us right when she called me this morning and asked if just two people could play!
  • Thankfully, not much time was spent in the kitchen.  Well, other than constantly finding goodies and snacks to eat.  I didn’t have to spend much time cooking or baking.  For at least a month and a half, my mom had been preparing food, buying supplies and reading labels for Benjamin’s meals.  Many of our traditional meals and Christmas goodies were transformed to be safe for Benjamin.  We estimate that for the one week we were there, my mom spent almost $500!!!  A huge and heartfelt thanks goes to the angel who helped my mom and dad financially with this week.  (If you’re reading, you know who you are!)  And obviously, no amount of words could be enough to thank my mom for all of her hard work and preparation.
  • Of course, nothing is complete without a trip to Chipotle.  But this one was extra special to me.  Chipotle is one of the few places we can still eat with Benjamin, but not without a little hassle in preparing his order.  This time, the employees at the Loveland Chipotle nearly brought me to tears!  When it came time to order for Benjamin and I mentioned he had allergies, the entire crew sprung into action.  “Gluten allergy coming down the line” was all it took for all of the spoons to be replaced (regardless of whether it was an item Benjamin would be using), all of the gloves to be changed, and all of the counters to be wiped.  They didn’t bat an eye when I asked for fresh lettuce from the back.  I seriously almost burst into tears.  I’ve never had that happen before…but found out that all Chipotles are supposed to know exactly what to do in a situation like ours.  I will be writing a word of thanks to their corporate office, as well as to that Chipotle directly.

A few random thoughts and observations from the trip, as well:

  • One aspect of Benjamin’s diet I have not seriously addressed is the cross-contamination issue.  Being in an environment with non-gluten-free food heightened my awareness and I realized how many times I’ve probably contaminated Benjamin’s food with gluten or dairy…and then wondered why he was having a bad day!  We will be taking a serious look at this issue after we return from New Rockford.
  • After the long (stressful for me) trip to Casper, Jarid lovingly pointed out how up tight I can be over my children’s behavior, among other things.  During our talk, we both finally acknowledged that I am teetering on the edge of depression, if not already there.  Not a serious, manic depression, probably just a reaction to the stress and changes we’ve faced this year with Benjamin’s diet.  I covet and appreciate your prayers right now.  There will probably be some bigger changes coming in the near future to help me cope.  For now, I’m claiming Isaiah 40:31 – “Those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
  • Since moving to Arizona, I’ve always been careful to specify that I can’t wait to move back to Colorado, even though it’s not really home.  Home was always Montana.  I think that’s changing.  They say that home is where the heart is, I now I believe it.  My heart is in Colorado, location-wise.  I really can’t express the feelings I had while we were there.  It felt so natural to be there, in the cold weather (even though it didn’t actually snow while we were there), in the mountains, in the fresh air.  I’m almost ashamed to admit that on more than one occasion, I thought through the consequences of not returning to Arizona.  If Jarid hadn’t gone ahead of us, I might have purposely missed our flight back!  In this instance, I will rest in Jeremiah 29:11 – “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'”
  • A wise man pointed out to me that I should not continue to or feel like I should have to explain myself, our decisions with Benjamin, or his behavior.  Thanks, Dad.  It’s very freeing to hear that and I’ll try to work on it.
  • My mother never ceases to amaze me with her perseverance and giving spirit.  She went above and beyond for us.  Thanks, Mom.
  • I have a seven year-old niece.  She’s kind of grown up already!
  • We need to do family pictures more often.  I’m just too cheap and too lazy. 🙂


Okay, I think that’s all I can manage to spew out for the year.  🙂  I’ll leave you with a bunch of pictures of our trip.  Have a safe and happy New Year!  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in 2009!

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Monday Madness (on Tuesday)

December 16, 2008 at 10:25 am (*)

Not too much to report this week.

1.  It’s “cold” in Chandler.  This morning, it was down to 45 degrees.  Compared to 30 below in Montana, it’s like being in the tropics!  I definitely think my body is starting to adapt the climate in Arizona.  Mentally, I’m not there yet, though.

2.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks.   What can I say?  Benjamin just isn’t ready for cheese.  I really am amazed at how a little bit of a food can so severely affect a person.  This time, we actually had other people notice a difference in him.  They finally were able to see what we were seeing all along.  What we’re finding, too, is that when he eats something he shouldn’t, all of the “symptoms” come back with a vengeance.  Whew.

3.  I am so ready to go to Colorado for Christmas.  This will be the first time I have been out of Arizona since we moved here!  I can’t wait for snow…mountains…clean, fresh air…Christmas with the whole family…snow…listening to Christmas music…klubb…playing games…reading the Christmas story…listening to Ben and Kaiya sing “Away in the Manger”….ahhhh.

I think that’s all for now.  The past two weeks have drained me, so that’s why there hasn’t been much activity here!

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