Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Oh my goodness...we are on snow day number 4 and day number 6 of being stuck at home...

If my two little kids loved snow, and the cold weather, it would make it so much easier to get out and about or even go sledding.

But...this is the reaction I get from the two littles...

Not impressed....
So Leah goes outside and plays in the snow while the two little's watch happily from the inside of a warm house.  Autum will get out more than Blake.  If I even open a door, Blake takes off running to hide pointing his finger for me to leave him alone while yelling "BOOOOGAAAAAH!"  (which we have translated to mean "back off!")

So Friday of last week I was about to go nuts and the kids were getting stir crazy so we ventured out to our one snow hill in town to sled. 
He could not move in these pants.

And it was quite entertaining to us to watch him fall down and try to get up. He could not bend at the waist!


This is the only way Autum would go down!

Buddy sledding!
Since these photos we have gotten another 7-10" of snow.  It's beautiful outside with the snow blanketing everything in its white pureness...I'm just hoping we can interrupt this wonderland with our sleds later today!  Whether my little Ukrainian likes it or not!

Friday, February 22, 2013

This and That

She HAS to dress herself  every morning for school, so Jerad told me to start taking pictures of the outfits she picks out to show her someday when she's older.  Very creative!

This is how we spent our Sunday, last weekend.  BEAUTIFUL!

This is what we did yesterday...only 4 days later!  Kansas, anybody?

Riding in sled while daddy pulls Autum...this is on our street, by the way.

Now daddy wants a ride!  I believe we got close to 12" by the end of it all.

And Leah took a liking to Brent, the snow blower, and followed him everywhere...

And more....

And my dad's birthday was this past week so the kids' sung a Happy Birthday rendition of their own.  At one point I believe Autum says "Happy Birthday Poopy Papa!"  Oh my....*sigh*

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Short Stories from the Woods Household

Oh I swear just last night our house had more excitement than Allen Fieldhouse against OSU in 2 overtimes.  Autum decided to shove the end of a baby carrot up her nose after doctor's offices are closed on a night we are to get 12" of snow...and so it began.  Jerad had more tricks to try than probably should have been allowed  But we first tried to extract it with tweezers.  Then we used nose spray and tried to get it to run out. Then we made the poor girl sniff some pepper to induce a sneeze, which worked great...to get her to sneeze, but no carrot.  By now she was starting to get pretty upset and angry with us, so we put her in the bathtub with her goggles and and hoped she would maybe get it out herself by dunking her head in the water.  Buuuuuut, nothing.

When all our ideas failed, we hit up Google.
Oh my gosh.  We found a suggestion of sucking the object out of a child's nose with the vacuum cleaner!!!  And we almost came near trying it.  But I called my aunt instead, who deals with this stuff daily, as an RN at Children's Mercy Outpatient Clinic.  So suggested we get a straw and put it in the nostril with nothing in it...then cover her mouth (at this point we have her swaddled in a blanket)...so Jerad drew the short straw and got to do the blowing while I covered her mouth and tried to keep her calm.  We sat her up on the counter and gave it a whirl.  First try, nothing.  The straw got a kink in it.  So we stepped back, we reassured her, got back into position and tried again.  This time was a success!!! That carrot blew out of there like a rocket and stuck to my arm...hahahah!! Then Jerad did a toe touch, cheerleading move in the kitchen and yelled "we don't have to pay $500 for an emergency room visit!  YAY!!!"

Whew. What an evening.

And only the night before, Leah informs me that she had a talk with the head lunch lady at her school during her lunch break.  She said, "Mom, the lunch lady told me to tell you that the school is really trying to make healthier lunches for us kids!"

 I said, "whooooaa....wait a minute.  what??" "What in the world did you say to her??"

She said, "weeeeellll, I told her that you said I have to take my lunch box everyday because the school lunches are really nasty and unhealthy!"

*silence*  Then Jerad busts into laughter, while my head reels. 

"WHAT??" I said. "I said YOU have to take your lunch because you have food allergies to wheat and dairy, Leah.  And we try to avoid processed foods....not that is is NASTY." I said, "sometimes things we talk about at home don't need to be shared with everyone else..."  I say this as I'm trying to decide what to do next...do I call the school and clarify?  or do I just let it go?

I chose to go with the latter, as Jerad continued to die laughing, while shaking his head.
I should know this by now....I have the most honest, literal child...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Royal Law

"If you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself; you are doing well" -James 2:8

I do not know how many times in a day I say, "Leah, treat others how you want to be treated..."  My scholarly wisdom usually has to do with Leah pushing Autum, Autum biting Leah...Leah getting mad at Autum biting her....and in I swoop before the battle ensues to hair pulling!

What's amazing about this is I am reading a book that discusses this very topic.  How this one commandment reverberates through the Old Testament and the New Testament, and provides a keyhole glimpse into the entire law.  This verse has much more depth to it than stopping 2 kids from pulling each others' hair.  In fact, in Leviticus it is called the "Royal Law"...(hmmm, going to have to get that posted somewhere in the house!)  But what I'm realizing even more is that it means exactly what it means...word for word.  Let me explain, as I was reading this I realized it doesn't say "Love your neighbor as much as you love your kids..."  "Love your neighbor as your favorite sports team..."  So in my mind I compared that to "Love your neighbor as much as you love anything important in your life...that you spend the most time thinking about, that you put the most effort and expense into...then it must be pretty important, right??

No, it says "Love your neighbor as y.o.u.r.s.e.l.f.."
UGH.  All I know, especially as a woman, it is stinkin' hard to even like myself...let alone, LOVE myself.  It goes so far as to pick apart details about how I was created to look, be, sound, feel, do...most days I'm just not lovin' myself.  It's a work in progress, that requires lots of Scripture reciting to expel the fiery darts of the wicked...the thoughts that creep in...redirection at its finest.  Heck! I should be an expert at that by now, with a 2 and 3-year old in the house...but it doesn't come so easy for me. 

So as if that's not enough to swallow...I'm to love my neighbor...my friends, my family, and base my future relationships on...how I. love. myself...  WHOOOAA!  So as I'm reading this I'm feeling guilty, thinking I'd never treat my neighbor the way I treat myself...ever.  I wouldn't think about them the same way I think about how I look somedays.  I'd never say to them what I self-talk to myself through my inner thoughts.  Noooo way!  So what in the heck does this mean?  I kept reading...because I was confused.  How do I love my neighbor as I love myself?  It just doesn't make sense.

What I do know is that God created us to love and care for ourselves, we are wired to think/work that way.  In literal thinking, most of us pick our hand up off a hot surface upon realizing it burns, right?

Then I read this line:  "imagine how mangled our bodies would be if we took care of them, the same way we tend to our hearts." 


Soooo you are saying...I have a heart problem...and I have a selfish problem...  Obviously.  Not a self-love---as described by modern psychologists today---problem.  I realize I wouldn't be spending all this time obsessing about myself, my looks, my thoughts, and making all of this whole verse about "ME"  if I didn't LOVE. ME.  It's just a distorted love.  An ugly, deceitful, yucky kind of love, that spews out of my sinful heart...leading me to believe untruths.

And this is where it all came together for me...
LOVING OTHERS....cures favoritism and selfishness...plain.  and.  simple.

So you are telling me that...loving others turns out to be liberating to me.  It is a cure for my broken heart.  For my "self-love" issues.

It makes perfect sense.  I know these things, yet I didn't know them.
With me?

I know that whenever I am around people, helping someone out, smiling at a stranger, leading others, learning from others, giving of my time and efforts...my heart is full.  It fills my soul.  Makes my cup runneth over. 

And this is now what I get...because it is taking the focus off of ME. 
And here this whole time I truly, honestly thought I had a problem with 'loving myself.'  When all along I had a problem with selfishly focusing on 'myself.'  TOO much.

It seems so backwards.  Yet so simple.  The greatest commandment is this, "to love your neighbor as yourself"  because...it is the perfect law of freedom.  Like the author said "it is how all sides win."

I get it.
Wow.  Now I'll have to come up with some other 'golden rule' to correct my kids' wrongdoing...this verse has way to much depth to it to be applied to pushing and shoving...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I took today off to attend Valentine's Day parties with the kids, Jump Rope for Heart with Leah, and to have a lunch date with a friend.  I packed 3 bags full of gluten-free, dairy-free candy for the kids...which equates to lots of Gummi-Worms, Skittles, Smarties, Orange Drops, Suckers, and Licorice....aka SUGAR!

This is how the reaction played out...Autum squealed in excitement upon opening her bag, and immediately popped a sucker in her mouth.  I made all 3 kids oatmeal in an effort to somehow get some fiber in them to counteract the sugar overdose they would experience on this special day.  Autum shoved hers to the side and dumped her bag of candy out...it was so bad, Jerad went to give her a hug before leaving for work and she yelled "MINE!" and leaned over her candy....thinking he was going to take it!  Then Blake took a peek in the bag, realized he hated the texture of the Gummi Worms and Orange Drops, spit out his sucker, and pointed at his oatmeal bowl and banana...that's my boy!  Banana's are like candy to a Ukrainian child with a history in an orphanage!  He LOVES them!  More than candy.  And Leah began complaining that she would rather have the box of chocolate we bought for Daddy, it would taste WAY better.  Then she told me she hopes she doesn't grow a sweet tooth because she's heard they talk really loud. 

And then she said that her Papa told her that her Mimi (aka grandma) has a loud sweet tooth! :)

We drove Leah to school, all in our PJ's high on sugar as of 8 am.  Autum had a sucker stuck in her hair, Blake had a stinky diaper, and I wasn't wearing any shoes, but had on my pink sweats (it wasn't all bad--they were somewhat festive!)

Then we loaded up again an hour later for Blake's Valentine's Day party at school.  Autum got to tag along.  We made Valentine's Day bags with glue and scissors....ayay!  And then handed out cards with the child's name on it...it was chaotic, loud, and crazy!  Blake and his other buddy, Adam, who also shares designer genes, made their way to the book corner and couch--away from the noise!  Autum made herself right at home, glueing everything in sight to her Valentine's bag...and taking full advantage of her free reign, unsupervised use of scissors!

We got home close to lunchtime so we loaded up on GF, DF chocolate cupcakes and some GF pizza!  Everyone's favorite!

Then I headed out the door with a friend.

It was quite a day!

Last night I vacated to our bedroom for some quiet time, only to find this going on! 

A little Jump Rope for Heart Action


Best buds!!

Handing out Valentine's to cute little girls!

And eyeing his sister's bag...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Leah's Big Week

This was Autum and Blake's performance after Leah's cheerleading!

My first attempt at a picture of both kids before Leah's first cheerleading performance!

2nd Attempt...

Entertaining each other before Leah's performance at the high school basketball game!

Waiting anxiously....

Silly face...

Show TIME!!


2nd Performance at Tabor College Basketball Game!


Pregame Pic!!

And Autum and Blake finished the night off with their performance!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

CrossFit Journal

Well, I've been working on a little project for a few months now and I'm finally able to present it to you all!  It went to press yesterday!

Please go here: http://journal.crossfit.com/2013/02/accessing-athleticism.tpl#featureArticleTitle

And check out the awesome people I get to work with each week!  They constantly motivate and inspire me to be better, work harder, and stay determined!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mama Bear

The past 2 weeks have been a mix of emotions for us at our house.

I think I'm finally realizing what other parent's of children with special needs mean when they have made comments regarding always having to fight for your child's rights in special education.  I have always been a person who believes and trusts the best in people until proven otherwise, and even then I still have a hard time seeing the 'bad' in people.  My husband always says I live with my head in the clouds, thinking this way.  Thank goodness, he's the realist and keeps my feet grounded!

But...I am now seeing that I'm going to have to begin to trust my "momma" instincts and get a back bone.  Geez, I thought I grew a solid back bone just enduring the adoption process...guess not!  Blake started attending preschool 2 days a week for 2 hours, to receive his therapies: occupational, physical, speech, and social.  We are starting him out slow and easing him into the school scene, he just turned 3, so I feel like I'm sending my infant off to school.  But I feel he needs the therapies and also gets to socialize with some other kids just like him.  And that is the best part about it all for me!  But I still have some Momma instincts that he's not ready for all of this yet, but we'll see, he's only been going 2 1/2 weeks...I'll give it a few more.  It was just a real struggle to stick to my guns and make the decision to only send him for 2 days, and half the time...because everyone at the school and on his Early Intervention team kept pushing for him to be in there full time, to improve his learning, social skills, and speech.  That going half the time would be difficult for him to transition to/from...not sure if they meant for him or them...but anyway.  I get that...but I also know, he's not your typical child with Down Syndrome.  And I kept arguing that!  But I'm realizing most people don't understand.  In fact, no one does.

This is what I have been trying to say: he spent 2 years in a social setting....we are trying to get him used to trusting 1-2 people (Jerad and I)...not everyone!  The case for most 'typical' children with DS is: they NEED the socialization.  So from Day 1, I feel like I've had to be on the defensive...constantly fighting for my child.  For his best.  For his needs.  For what is right for him.  I'm realizing that this might have to be the case for me and him for life.  A constant fight.  A battle for the best for my child. 

And its tiring, emotionally and mentally, mostly. 

And now I'm just beginning the process with Leah.  For her sensory needs, to which I have been referred to an outside resource...but once again, the situation has turned me into Momma Bear!  GRRRRR!!!  This is a side of myself I haven't really had to face, or really know what to do with...so I feel awkward, confused, and unsure of myself.  Probably how both of my children in school feel, most days.  It is humbling, to say the least.

So what I guess I'm saying is...I apologize if I seem to take the defense at any comment about my child being in school, not being in school, or what is 'best' for him or her...because I have been forced to go that way.  In fact, I am now finding myself assuming the looks, whispers, and comments from others are going to be bad, are going to be negative...unfortunately.  And I hate that.  I hate what this is making me into.  So accept my apology for my initial assumptions. 

We are all learning here.

This is kind of how I feel...