Update on progress plus new beginnings :)

Ok, so as you can tell, I’m still doing horible on consistently blogging…. I definitely need to work on that!

I’ll start out today with an update on my progress of my goals.

Organizing- I completed about 3 weeks of the 13 week challenge. (Go me!!! Lol) This means I cleaned up and organized my laundry room, Kitchen, and dining room!!! By cleaned up I mean that i got rid of at least 300 items between those 3 rooms alone. I also organized our storage closet a bit more so we can get to everything easier. Another thing I did was organize under my bathroom sink and went through my daughters clothes and my dresser and decluttered as well as refolded in the Konmari method. 

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What’s New in my New Year?

Well, go me for slacking off again with my posts! I’m really wanting to get more consistent with my posts, it’s just hard to find the time (or make the time) when there is so much life happening everyday! As promised though, I wanted to share some of my New Years Goals with you.

This last month or so, I have been thinking a lot about goals and New Years Resolutions. The last few years I didn’t even make any resolutions… To be honest, I really just didn’t have the motivation to set a goal, and I didn’t feel like I would even be successful if I did. I struggled… My mindset really was poor toward New Years Resolutions, and I felt it was a silly thing to do simply because nobody seemed to stick to them.

This year however is different. I’ve really been changing a lot this year, and with the lifestyle changes I have made so far, I have been encouraged to make some more changes and set some more goals… I guess I can say, it is because I have seen myself be successful with change in the last few months, and that had motivated me to push myself a little farther.

My biggest goal for this year would probably be the goal of planning. I’ve always been the type of person who just sort of let’s life happen… I’ve not been one for really staying on top of life or making any real progress simply because I do not put much thought toward the future. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some future thoughts, but really preparing beforehand, I’m not very good at. So my number one goal this year is to live each day more intentional, to plan ahead so that I can be more successful in other areas of my life.

A goal is simply a wish if there isn’t a plan set on how to achieve that goal… So I have been trying to set daily plans in order to achieve this goal. One thing I’m wanting to do this year is establish a home routine/schedule, so that I can make sure I give attention to each area of life. With this routine, my plan is to designate one day a week to focus on planning and paperwork. I’m going to call this my “office day” and will do things like home school planning, meal planning, schedule overveiw, filing papers, updating finances, etc…

Aside from learning to manage my time better through planning and forethought, I’m also wanting to organize our life a little more. My goal is to try to organize every area of our home. I know this seems like a very high goal, and it probably is, but I’ve learned this year that it’s better to aim high, excepting the fact that you may not reach the very top, but that you will reach more than you would have if you had set a lower goal. I have learned this in the area of exercise; a few weeks back I was talking with my midwife about exercise and she said this to me, “plan to do it everyday, don’t just say I’ll do it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or something like that because life will always happen, and something will come up. If you plan to do it daily, you are more likely to actually do it regularly.” I took her advice and have now been on a successful exercise routine of 5-7 days a week since at least October, and it has taught me so much! So yes, I am starting to set myself high goals now.

A few things I have started in order to help me achieve this 2nd goal are as followed: First of all, I joined a challenge online. It’s on a Facebook Page called “Mary Organizes” where we are doing a 13 week challenge to organize your home. The 2nd think I’m doing is trying to write out a list of all the areas in our home that I’ve not yet organized, or that need some organizing. Also, the first goal and 2nd goal are connected to each other, and the office day will also serve a purpose in helping keep our paperwork organized, and also will help cut down on food clutter because I should be able to know what I have on hand on a regular basis and only buy what I need for the time between shopping.

My 3rd goal is to continue with my health routine I’m on. I’m sure things will change up a bit with the eb and flow of life, but I mainly want to work on staying active and eating right. I’d like to lose some weight this year, but I haven’t set any sort of goal as far as that goes. I’m more focusing on doing the work and continuing to change my lifestyle. I know I will be having a baby soon and I will be breastfeeding. So right now I’m focusing on keeping my weight gain down so that I don’t have more to try to work off afterwards. (I struggle to keep a good milk supply, so that makes weightloss challenging.)

Here is a overveiw of the ways I have changed this year healthwise. First of all, I started the year doing the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. This plan has really opened my eyes to real nutrition. I lost all of my baby weight from my last pregnancy plus 20 more lbs before getting pregnant again this time. I’m not currently plan 100% and I’ve really not been doing well focusing on it. After I got pregnant I was really sick and tired and I gained about 8lbs right away in the first trimester. A friend of mine was a blessing and gave me a fitbit tracker and during my 2nd trimester I started using it daily to keep track of my activity level. I set a high goal of 12,000 steps a day and pretty much hit it everyday until about mid December. From 2nd to 3rd trimester I put on another 6lbs or so bringing my total to about 14lbs. Once I hit 3rd trimester I realized that it was getting harder to hit my goal, and I knew I needed to focus on my diet more. Since then I have done a low sugar challenge and a low carb challenge, which both gave a boost in my weight management and have also taught me more about hidden sugars and unhealthy carbs. I’m now up to right about 16-17lbs and have about 6-7 more weeks left in my pregnancy. I workout everyday except Sunday. I aim for at least one mile on my treadmill and I’m trying to add in some strength training workouts as well.

I have 2 other smaller goals that are sort of included in the other ones, but important enough to mention separately. The first is to do better on finances. To start keeping better track of our finances and learn to save more money. The 2nd goal is to get a homeschooling plan for next year.

I want to end this post with a reference to a vlog I watched. I’ll try to add the link as soon as I can. The vlog was a YouTube Video I watched a few weeks ago by a lady named Andrea Mills. The video stated that “anything worth doing is worth doing routinely.” This thought has really changed my perspective on life. See, many times people mention routines as something you just do simply because it’s in your routine. They basically imply that that thing doesn’t hold value to you because you just do it out of habit or routine… For example, you often hear preachers talk of how we should get out of our routines and not just go to church just in habit. I understand why they say that, because routines do often become mindless habits that we simply just do, but truthfully when you establish a routine you are saying that “this things is so important to me that it is worth doing over and over again.” So rather than de-emphasizing it, your actually placing more value on it because your willing to give it regular attention.

The other thought is that our routines make up who we really are. You can say you enjoy doing something or that you have a certain hobby or skill, but if it isn’t apart of your regular routine, it really isn’t apart of who you are. This thought hit home. See growing up I loved music, I lived for music. I was involved in music in multiple ways from kindergarten all the way to graduating college. After I got married, that area of my life took the back burner. I have struggled so much with that too. I realized that I don’t really play piano andymore, and I don’t sing anymore and that I’m no longer a musician. Wow! I was crushed by this thought because deep down the love and passion is still there! I almost feel cheated sometimes, like life stole my dreams away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with my life as it is, but I long to do those things again everyday…

Then it hit me…

It really depends on me… I’m the one who chose to set those things aside. It’s not the fact that I’m not performing or the fact that I’m not involved in music that makes the difference between today and my past… To be honest, I’ve had many opportunities present them self over the past few years that I had to turn down simply because I wasn’t prepared or qualified to do the work… I was no longer qualified because I was no longer routinely practicing and putting time into music. Music is not something your just gifted with, it’s something your work toward everyday…

So my final goal this year is to begin playing the piano again. I’m easing into it, I’ve set myself a goal of 2 hours a week, which seems to be a good goal for me  for a while. On top of me practicing, I’m also teaching my daughter to play as well. We are motivating each other by competing with our practice time 🙂 I’m excited to see how this brings us closer together and I’m excited to see what God will do with this hobby we have started. To Him be all the glory!

Happy New year 2017!

2016 really was a great year. When I look back on all that happened this past year, all I can really say is that I have been so blessed and I AM so blessed! God is so good to me and to my family! I could not praise Him enough for His mighty working and power in my life. God is so good!

I’ll start this post with another little update on the past year since I neglected writing so much! 

The summer of 2016 was FULL! It started out with 2 back to back trips to Colorado, the first being the one I explained a little in my last post where we had fun visiting family and just basically relaxing and enjoying ourselves. (There were many good moments on that trip within all the stressful ones!) We got to celebrate Alexander’s first birthday with my family which was extra special! This was the first birthday of our kids that we have been able to spend with them, so that was fun! 

The second trip to Colorado was a Missions trip we were blessed to be able to lead. I’m not sure if I have posted a lot about what it is that my husband and I do, so I’ll share a little of that now. My husband is the Sunday School teacher for the adult Deaf class at our church. We both also help with interpreting for services and many other church related events. 

 This time last year, God laid on my husband’s heart the desire to take the adult deaf group on a Missions trip. In January we met a man at the Home Missions Conference in OKC named Dean Francini. He is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) who was lead by God to plant a deaf church in Colorado Springs. They planted their church in November of 2015. 

Just 2 weeks after our family vacation to Colorado, we set about to help this baby church. It was a fun and full week of serving and blessings! We stayed in a very nice hotel while helping this church with door knocking, visiting, nursery help, and many other things. It was so much fun and we learned and grew a lot as a group. 

While on this trip to Colorado we learned of another exciting blessing in our life!!! While out shopping for meals one afternoon I decided to make a quick stop at the dollar tree to try and figure out why I hadn’t cycled for almost 2 months. My cycles became somewhat irregular after Joshua’s birth, and it has been taking longer than before for me to know what is going on. I had tested a few times the week before the trip but they were negative. Well while out on this particular outing we learned that we were going to have baby Athey number 5 in early 2017! I am due March the 10th, but should meet the little bean sometime before that due to some health problems I developed in my last pregnancy. At this point we believe baby Athey number 5 is yet another boy, but have another Ultrasound in a few weeks to confirm. 

We began the summer with the 2 trips, then had some time at home of which I spent somewhat tired and somewhat sick… Then we ended the summer with a random unexpected trip to Tennessee where we were able to visit 2 other Deaf ministries. The first stop was a Church and College called Sword Deaf Church and College founded by Fred Adams. Fred Adams is a deaf man who is the sending Pastor of Dean Francini. He came out to our church after our visit to Colorado to meet up with our class. While on his trip we hit it off and he offered to help us get started in Ministry if the Lord led, so we went on the trip to familiarize ourselves with his work.

 While trying to research more about his ministry we were able to get in contact with a man named Jon Barr who was apart of a ministry called Silent Word Ministries. He also was interested in our family and invited us to attend their annual Missionary Retreat which just happened to be less than 2 hours away from Sword Deaf Church. We had a great time with both of these ministries, but did return home to continue in the work we were doing. I would not say that the future does not hold plans of us working with either of them, but we did feel God’s peace in where we were for the time while we continue to seek the Lord for His specific plans for our future. 

The last few months our family has been busy with normal life of Homeschooling and Ministry. Our life is, and continues to be very FULL and very BLESSED! Again, as I look back on 2016, all I can think to do is to just praise the Lord for His goodness to our family and for His blessings in our lives!!! 

My next post hopefully will be soon with what my goals and plans are for 2017! I look forward to sharing with you soon!!!

Update!!!

It has been so long since I posted!! There are so many topics I want to talk about and I so do not know where to begin!!! To make it easy I’ll start with an update of the situation in my last post.

About a month after I posted that post we took baby Alex to see an Allergist. Him and Joshua had a prick allergy test done. Alexander’s came back normal and Josh came back with an allergy to grass. The Allergist diagnosed Alex with having what is called “FPIES” which stands for Food Protein Induce Enterocolitis Syndrome. His was caused by dairy and soy protein. It’s somewhat of a complicated diagnosis though because it often tests normal and negative on IGE type allergy tests, so the diagnosis is made based off of symptoms and reactions to different foods they eat. I’m thankful to say that Alexander’s case would be one I would consider rather mild. As long as we keep the trigger foods out of his diet he does well.

We went through a very rocky and very stressful road from the time he was born until he turned a year old, with things peaking out right around a year. He went from the 60th percentile down to the 2nd and faced dehydration from refusing to drink. It was so scary at times. Some reactions were worse than others. He had continuous vomiting spells, crazy diarrhea, refusing to eat and drink and even lethargy…

When he turned a year I was ready to give up breastfeeding him. (I didn’t want to necessarily, but felt like I had no choice) I felt like it was the best thing for him. The problem was that I didn’t know how to stop. He wouldn’t drink anything else, (he barely drank that…) and he often refused food. He also was allergic to all the normal formula you could buy in the store and was allergic to soy and cows milk…

The week before his first birthday we went on a trip to Colorado to see our family. I decided it was a good time to try to wean him. I wish I could say that I did it before going, or that I did it correctly,  but I didnt. My first intention was to continue to try to nurse through the vacation, but I quickly realized that it really wasn’t possible, nor did I want to try to keep up with my crazy pumping schedule while traveling. I knew I would be faced with many opposition by well meaning people who did not understand.

I pumped the way there like normal, but Alex refused to drink it… I was stressed and ready to be done… I wanted chocolate and ice cream and all the yummy things I had given up that whole year! I caved a few times on the trip and ate a few pieces of chocolate… when we arrive the vomiting and diarrhea started… he was so sick… at that point I really felt backed into a corner because I already had eaten those things and had no way to remove it from my body, not to mention I felt so done nursing!  So I went about that week trying to find anything he would drink! We first went healthy and bought some almond and full fat coconut milk and some goats milk powder. I first tried the almond and coconut…. he wouldn’t touch it… then I tried the goat milk, again he wouldn’t touch it… we tried smoothies, water, gaterade, even slurpees! He outright refused everything!  Then he started wanting to nurse, but every time I nursed he would get more sick and refuse more food… also since I wasn’t pumping or nursing around the clock my body quickly felt like it didn’t need to make milk and I was not producing much of anything… (I struggled with supply a lot after switching to pumping because my body doesn’t respond well to it and before vacation had dropped to less than 10 Oz a day and was supplementing with frozen df sf donor milk I was able to get. This was another reason I chose to wean on the trip, because I didn’t have enough milk to feed him on the trip and didn’t know how to transport the donor milk and have it last the whole week…) the week ended with me very stressed and syringe feeding him Pedialyte every hour to try to keep him hydrated until we could get back to OKC. My plan was to try one final option of a bottle of the donor milk and if he refused that, I would take him straight to the ER.

To my surprise he was more than happy to drink the donor milk when we arrived back home! I was releived! The only problem was that I had only about 100 Oz of milk in my freezer, so I needed to find a solution fast… I took him to the pediatrician and she gave us a form to get a hypoallergenic formula from wic.

While waiting to get the formula we first decided to try the goats milk again mixed with the donor milk to see if we could wean him over. To my surprise he actually drank it when we mixed 1 Oz of goat milk to 2 Oz of breastmilk. The bad part is that he reacted terrible to it!!! From just 2 Oz he had 8 terrible muccous diarrhea diapers in less than 2 hours…. so we stopped that and all symptoms cleared up quickly after.

We tried a few different types of formula of which he refused, and we’re finally given EleCare Vanilla for toddlers, and he thankfully really liked it! (It tastes like a vanilla milk shake) so we were able to wean him over to that and he’s been on it since.

Since then he has gone from the 2nd percentile up to about the 20th and has gained about 5 lbs in the last 6 months. He has only once eaten any form of dairy, and it was accidental. His reaction was vomiting and diarrhea for a few days after. He saw a GI Dr recently who said to wait until at least 2 to try to add milk in. Thankfully most kids with FPIES will outgrow it by the age of 4. I feel like he will be one to outgrow it soon too.

So that is the update on Alex. I will try to do more frequent posts in the near future and get this site up and running again. I have a lot of goals for the new year and will probably do another post either later today or tomorrow and talk about that.

Thank you for reading my posts, and I’m excited to get to share our lives with you all again!

God bless!

 

A lesson I learned about God’s very personal working in my life.

I wanted to share this testimony so that I will never forget. God did a very personal work in my life a few months back that made me realize that He truly does want to work very personally in our lives. Well here goes:
I gave birth to a healthy baby boy back in June. Shortly after his birth I started noticing some abnormal coloring in his stools… they were constantly a dark green color and full of muccous. I knew from having breastfed all 3 of my other children that this was not normal… so I went about searching the Internet and talking to our pediatrician about it. Her advice, as well as what I read online said it was most likely an allergy to cows milk… so I said goodbye to dairy 😦
About a month after that I started a diet called Trim Healthy Mama, with all of these new diet changes I dropped to almost 35lbs below my prepregnancy weight within the first 6 months of his life… well not only was I dropping weight, so was he. I decided to stop trying to lose and focus on getting him to gain weight. I thought maybe my milk supply was low, or that it wasn’t having enough fat for him to gain. He also refused to nurse ALOT. I started trying to pump and bottle feed some and he would still often refuse the milk that way. I also discovered that he was not draining my milk completely, and would leave a few ounces in there after feeding. So we went about searching for more answers. I saw a lactation consultant who diagnosed him with having a tongue tie and advised that we get it clipped by an ENT so that he could nurse more efficiently. We had him clipped at the end of January. (From Dec until then he lost 3 ounces even with me not dieting and trying to feed him often) during the recovery week, I tried to nurse as much as he would, which wasn’t very often or very long… I pumped and bottle fed on top of that… I also decided to try introducing solid food to see if that would help.
Then in the middle of February we went away for 24 hours on a marriage retreat. Alex stayed with a sitter and drank bottles the whole time. (He did great on just bottles) When we returned, all of our children were sick with strep throat except Alex, but he had an ear infection. He refused to nurse more, so I started offering bottles most of the time and pumping my milk for him. Fast forward 2 weeks later and he was still refusing to nurse… I was freaking out because I did not want to keep pumping around the clock… I was exhausted!!! I felt like I had no choice but to put him on formula because we were having so many issues from birth… so for a week or so I got so discouraged. I finally decided that I really needed to seek the Lord about this issue. (Why this was my last choice, I don’t know, simply human nature to try to figure it out on my own) So I stepped away from my Facebook account, and sought about praying and seeking the Lord for answers.
He gave me VERY practical answers!!! It was so clear and exact that I knew it was from the Lord! I’m still in awe of how He answered me! He gave me this schedule:
Wake up and nurse,
Pump for 20 minutes after he nurses
Feed him breakfast with us (whatever he wants to eat)
Nurse before his morning nap (if he refuses I’ll pump this one too)
Feed him lunch (whatever he wants to eat)
Nurse before his afternoon nap
Pump about 4pm
Feed bottle when he wakes about 5ish
Feed him supper with us (whatever he wants to eat)
Nurse before bed
Pump before I go to bed, or sometimes I’ll just wake him in the middle of the night to sneak an extra feeding in.
HE’S GROWING!
And the best part- I’m still able to nurse him! Plus he is getting all breastmilk still! (Well and solid food)
I am at peace about it too, and I haven even weighed him in over a month because I’m just not worried anymore. I know this routine was from the Lord, therefore I know by doing it that he is getting just what he needs! It amazes me the peace He has given me.
I hope this testimony has encouraged you, that no matter how insignificant your struggle seems to be to you, that God understands and wants to actively work in your life!!! Trust Him and seek Him! He will bless!

Focus on Encouraging

The Lord has really been working in my heart and life lately. Last night as I was pondering on my life I asked myself this question… When I am hurting, angry, or struggling spiritually what is it that I feel like I need most from others? A helping hand and an encouraging word and heart…
I’ll confess, I’m a very harsh Christian… I have high expectations for others and for myself. When I myself or others cannot or choose to not reach up to them I beat them up for it… Then I become very discouraged.
I am participating in a ladies Bible study with the ladies of my church with this book:

image

Within this book we were saposed to write down what sin we struggle with and confess it to the Lord. The Lord immediately laid discouragement on my heart… discouragment??? Is that really a sin? I thought… the Lord laid the verse in Romans 14:23 on my heart, it says, “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Discouragment is caused when we are trusting more in ourself and others actions and abilities instead of the Lord. It is a sin to not trust the Lord….
So I have been asking the Lord for help in this area.
Well he led me to ponder on this thought… To focus my thoughts on encouraging others.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as theyself.” Mark 12:31- this is the 2nd greatest commandment in the Bible, also commonly called the golden rule… Christ was the Ultimate example of this. He gave Himself for us. How can we love others as we love ourself? By considering our greatest needs, (this is easy for all of us to do bc we are selfish and always consider our own needs) but then turning those needs towards others and pouring into them. For example, when we feel like we need fellowship, instead of sitting around becoming bitter because nobody is visiting you, get into your car and go visit someone else you think may have the same need. Real joy comes from loving the Lord and pouring our lives into others…
So as I ponder my struggle with discouragment, I have decided what I need to do for healing is to focus on encouraging others in any way I can think of.