Saturday, July 30, 2011

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term HealthThe China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was completely eye opening and as I read, I was convinced I needed to make certain changes in my dietary lifestyle -- so change I did. I began reading this book last year, but then left the book in Michigan. I picked it up again this year when my husband bought it for me. This book is thick with research and statistics that, for me, were shocking, and again, life changing. After 25 years of government supported research, Campbell has concluded that living a vegan lifestyle is the only way to prevent (and reverse) cancers, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and macular degeneration -- among other diseases of affluence. He doesn't deny that some of us are genetically predisposed to certain diseases, but what he does conclude, after these 25 years of first animal testing -- and then taking the research to people -- is that we have control over our genes. If we choose to eat properly (and again, he says properly is plant-based), then we don't have to trigger those cancerous genes to get going.

As shocking as all the research said, it wasn't a surprise to me. Over the past decade, I've seen and read more and more about this stuff...I had just never seen it so clear like this. I had never read the actual China Study, so I didn't know. He took their study -- the China Study -- and put it into a book. Why haven't we heard about this, even though his research was gov't funded, he receieved awards, and he along with other well-known and respected doctors are advocating diet as a way to control disease? Well, he talks about this, and it becomes political. That part of the book, though I actually really believe it, wasn't as appealing to me simply because that stuff wears me out. It makes me sad and it's discouraging.

Did he convince me? 100%. Am I a vegan? Not today. But we have started adjusting our eating patterns to reflect more of a plant-based diet. We are taking it slow, but I do feel really good about the changes we've made. I'm losing weight (but eating a lot of fruit, vegetables, and grains), I'm sleeping better, and feeling better all-around. It is a book that everyone should read sometime.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Last Day of Preschool

Thanks for cooperating long enough for them to get this picture Sammy, because it sure makes my heart melt.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where I Am Meant to Be

I saw this quote on Kidz the other day (I love being a part of this special needs blog by the way), and it keeps running through my mind. Lately, I've been discouraged and kind of sad actually. And, that is a really uncomfortable feeling for me. I tend to push sadness and discouragment (about certain things) to the side pretty well. I plunge into "work" -- cleaning the closet, organizing the drawers, painting picture frames for the girls' room (yes, my most recent mini-project) -- and that helps me to not dwell on the thoughts that get me down.

But lately, oh lately, I've been discouraged...and sad. And I've been annoyed that I've been sad and discouraged. For the first time, I have really questioned "How are we going to make this work?" -- specifically in reference to having more kids. I know it'll happen, or at least I have faith that Heavenly Father isn't lying to me, but I began to really wonder just how that may work out.

And then I remembered the quote. And I realized that I have not gone anywhere I had intended to go. Well, I guess that's not true -- there were things like getting married in the temple and things like that that I always intended to do. But, overall, I never planned, or intended on

having a special needs daughter

being a special needs parent

dealing with seizures and hospital stays

adopting a daughter

waiting to adopt more

becoming an adoption advocate

writing a blog about our life -- for heaven's sakes! sheesh

having a blog about Samantha

wanting to write books about these topics

starting a non-profit

fundraising for therapies

living in California!

But in my recent discouragment about adopting and other things, I have relearned the truth of what I have told people over and over again. And, I really do believe it -- though I didn't plan (or intend) to live this life, it's so much better than I could have imagined. It's richer and fuller and happier. And, I think when we hand our lives over to Him, then He can take us where He intends us to be. Because, I didn't intend on going to all these places, but I intended on being a






and a do-er

I've gone to the places that have helped me become who I'm supposed to be -- I think. And, I'm pretty sure that there will be other places I don't want to go, or don't intend on going to, that will shape me into who I am intended to be. It's a little bit of a scary thought, but my discouragment and sadness went away pretty quickly after I re-realized this...and now my despairing "How" questions are merely curiosities. And for today, I'm ok with curious.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Been a Loooooong Time

Please ignore the stellar bangs...that's another story...but check out the length of this girl's locks!
Now, I realize it's been a long time since she's had a cut, but still.
I didn't realize Sammy's hair had gotten so long because it's pulled back quite a bit.  Down is pretty, but it gets in her way and she can't brush it back.  So, to avoid sticky hair, or chewed on hair, she often sports pig tails, ponytails, braids, and curls pulled back.  After her bath the other day, instead of doing some braids, I took the blowdryer to her head to see what her hair would look like if I took the time to do it...and what we got was sheer beauty.  Love her hair (again, minus these bangs).

Monday, July 25, 2011


Kim had this on her blog, and I was laughing so hard I was crying.  I had to share it, just in case you haven't seen this yet.  And to this lady...I just want to say...thanks for the laugh.

We Are Children of God

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Miss Awesome Award

Today's Miss Awesome Award goes to....


for waking up, by herself, at 11:00pm to go potty and waking up with a dry bed!

Last night, a little after 11pm, I heard some noise in the bathroom.  It was Callie, going potty!  I couldn't be more proud of my little Miss Awesome. 

The Rose Garden

Last Sunday Marcus took us down to the famous Rose Garden. I had some fun playing with what I still consider to be my new camera.

I think these were my best of the day...

but I really did like the color on this one.

If I were to crop this, it would be better, but I kind of like the light behind this rose.'s ok.

Callie enjoyed climbing up this wall, running along the edge until it ended, and doing it again. So, that's what we did.

And Sammy was just about ready to join this group in their game of frisbee.

I really like this picture. I think it's just how Samantha is holding on to Marcus like that. It's just a tender moment as he shows her the roses. I love it.

Oh Callie. This is her smile these days.

This cracks me up...she's skipping, but it looks like her right arm is completely dislocated or something. oooo I'm laughing so hard. (Am I that tired?) The more I look at it, the funnier it is. And I just realized, she has no neck in this picture too. Funnier and funnier I tell you!

"I love you Daddy, but my Capri Sun is a close second."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What the...

Yesterday was a busier morning. I lost track of time and was hurrying to get Samantha ready for a doctor's appointment. I quickly changed her diaper, and as I opened the back door to throw the dirty diaper in our version of the diaper genie (which is really just a small garbage can outside so we don't smell old diapers), I heard a loud noise as if an animal were scurrying away...and then a deep whoooop sound. What the....

I didn't see any cat or possum or anything of the sort -- not that a possum would have been out at that time of day anyway -- and when I looked down, right next to the glass door, I saw a dead bird. It was your average bird, except the feathers had been somewhat plucked off it appeared, and its head was missing. I gasped in shock, and when I looked up, there were 2 hawks on our neighbor's wooden fence. Now, the homes around here are pretty close together, so these hawks were relatively close, watching me look at their meal...which I had disturbed.

Lee kindly took a shovel and threw the half-eaten bird over the wooden fence into the empty lot where I'm assuming these birds of prey finished their breakfast.

I'm all about the circle of life. I get the fact that these birds need to eat...other birds. I remember looking forward to our annual elementary school assembly "Birds of Prey." They'd come in with owls, hawks, and eagles. It was fascinating. But to see this as I'm throwing out a dirty diaper was a little surreal, with its half-eaten meal. blahargbalah, I say. Surprisingly I've seen quite a few hawks around these here parts -- a busy California city. But never before when throwing out a dirty diaper. Now that's a first for me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dry Sheets

This little gem of a girl made a HUGE accomplishment last night. 
Since Monday, we've been working on night-time potty-training.  
Callie was potty trained relatively young, so I didn't worry about the evenings.  But she'll be 4 in January, and when Marcus suggested we begin, I agreed (after talking to my mother-in-law of course).  I wasn't looking forward to this, but all things considered, it's been a good experience.  It's been night after night of wet sheets and laundry the next day...but last night...oh sweet last night...

Callie came into our room around 11pm, crying, because her pants were wet (however her bed was not).
She woke up, she told me, because she was wet (good sign).
We went to the bathroom and she finished the job.
This morning at 7am, she and her bed were completely dry!

Way to go Callie!  We keep telling her how proud we are of her...and I'm hoping that pretty soon I won't be waking up in the middle of the night to take her potty anymore. 
Yeah for big girls!!!

Girls' Camp 2011

This year I was an assistant director at Girls' Camp.  I was the Programs Director.  What does that mean?  It means a lot more than I thought it did when the calling was extended to me!!!  That's for sure.  But I loved it so much.  With the 6th levels, we planned the evening "programs" which includes anything and everything that goes along with having a nightly program.  I had so. much. fun.  And I couldn't have gone without my mother-in-law being willing to help with the girls, a husband who was willing to get up early with our kiddies, and for Kathleen Pack and Sydney Black who had fun with Callie during the week too. 

This year's experience at camp was...incredible really.  Last year I went as the fireside speaker and Faith Walk coordinator -- it was fantastic, but different.  With this calling, I knew what was going on all the time.  I knew most everything.  And I saw the 6th levels transform.  As they sought out the Spirit, I could see them mature and develop stronger testimonies.  It was strengthening for me.  Plus, they are dang awesome young women and I'm so glad we got to hang out all week.  They had me laughing quite a bit.  What a fun fun week.  I don't have pictures of everything -- me rappelling and doing the MC Hammer on the side of the mountain, kayaking, and a ton of other stuff...but suffice it to say it was Grrrrrreat (thanks Tony the Tiger).

I am grateful for the chance I had to do it and look forward to next year...for now though, I'm back and ready to do all the stuff that was on hold while camp preparations were going -- yes, and this includes blogging. 

Lisa, me, Jen, Sadie on the boat.  The advantage of being "programs" is that I had some down time during the day and could do, basically, what I wanted.  On Tuesday, this meant spending all day at the lake.  Niiiice.

Too bad this picture is blurry...Serena, Carissa, and Sara.  Love these girls!

Sadie.  What a babe.

Totally wished I had a good zoom lens here...beautiful waterfall.

Crazy goose that kept following us.  Now, Serena, Sara, and Carissa thought it was soooo funny that I was afraid of this goose, but people...let me just tell you, geese are not always NICE.  Swans are worse.  But this guy was a bit too "friendly" and when he started crossing the comfort line, yeah, I wasn't the only one nervous anymore.  That's right.

I know I wasn't the 6 level leader, but I really feel like these are my girls.  Just a few of them here, but love them all dearly.
Alexa, Abby, Katie, Claire, Meagan, Sadie, Serena, Carissa, Sara

Yep, always dancing, singing -- and laughing.

Tuesday night: Service projects!!!
Happiness all around.  Claire, Serena, Sadie.

The theme was "The Temple: The Happiest Place on Earth" tying in Disneyland.  Wednesday night was Night in Wonderland with different staions and games all Alice and Wonderland themed.  The idea was that Alice made a bad decision and left to follow the rabbit.  In doing so, she fell down a hole and her life changed.  She was faced with trials and often felt confused because she made that decision to follow the rabbit.  BUT, she made it home...and we can too if we choose to repent.  We can always make it home.  It was an awesome fun night.  Everyone loved it.  I wish we had pictures of the decorations.  It was pretty awesome.  The lodge was crazy, set up so it looked like as the girls entered, they were going down a hole...fog, strobe light, crazy stuff hanging all over the place.  I loved here "Woa...coooool" as they entered!!!

Katie, Meagan, Jen, Lisa, Me, Sadie
Night in Wonderland

McKenna, Allora, me, Sadie, Serena, Meagan, Claire, Alexa, Abby
Jen, Katie, Sara, Sam, Lisa

My committee!  I love them!!!
Rachel, Amy, Vanette, and me

Tammy and Christine (Gospel Adventure)
Diane, Xenia, Laura, me, Annie (Camp Council)

Sadie and myself, giggling away

Melissa, Claire, Katie, Abby

You can kind of get an idea of what the regular daily decorations were -- colorful poofs, the bees, flags, paper lanterns over every table.  It was cute, full of color.

Some of the clocks were still up from Night in Wonderland, but you get the idea.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today I Feel...


today's abridged list...
my parents and siblings
my in-laws
extended family
modern-day medicine
Now I Can
special needs
the Spirit's promptings
priesthood blessings
tender mercies
pineapple and coconut juice
my girls' smiles
giggles and tickle attacks

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Michigan in Review, Part 2

This year we also were able to see 2 of my cousins who I haven't seen in, oh, maybe 20 years!
Mom, Samantha, Marcus, Callie, Lori, Ron, me, Brayden, Jackson, and Hunter

Father's Day playing in the yard.

Taking a break to get some water.

Hunter eating some yummy watermelon.  We had the best fruit all week long!

My stud brother, Ted.

The big 'ole patriarch of the fam (and builder of the deck).

One thing that was really fun for me was to see the entire family together.  The cousins were playing, we were running around the yard playing was so fun.  I just kept thinking "this is family."  Cheesy, but it's true.  I loved it.

Callie was leary to get in on the "Come Guppies Come" game so she kind of stuck around me.


hm, my eyes shut?  I think so.  Happy Father's Day Marcus.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Michigan in Review, Part 1

I was so scared to fly on the plane alone with these 2, but it went incredibly well.  I don't think it could have gone better.  Way to go!  I definitely feel like I can do this again.

Callie enjoyed going to the beach and swinging on the swings.

And she loves her cousin, Lindsay.  Lindsay is a good cousin.  She takes care of her little cousins

Sammy wasn't too cooperative.  We were trying to get a picture of her, but she kept resisting.  I guess everyone needs a break from the camera from time to time.

Down at the beach.  Sammy was watching Lindsay and Callie go down the slide.

Callie really loves the water.  We weren't planning on going swimming because it was a chilly day, but she got in the water anyway and played.  I love this lake so much.  I forget how lucky I was to grow up a short walk away from a lake like this growing up.  To have that in your neighborhood is really really nice, to say the least.

Moments before Sammy went head first into the water, soaking herself quite well.

Growing up, we had a good sized deck on the back of our house.  Then, y.e.a.r.s ago we ripped it out with plans to rebuild.  Finally, this year my dad put on the deck.  When I first got there, he and a friend were working on it each day.  I was able to help him the last part.  It was fun for me to do, and the deck looks beautiful.  He used the synthetic wood, which I think can look really plasticy, but this was really nice stuff.  We were out there a lot.

I love my yard.

What to do when it rains?  Paint.

And play with doors.

And wear googley-eye glasses.

I was able to catch up with some friends I haven't seen in a long long time.  Me, Karen, and Quinn.  I hadn't seen Karen since high school gradution!  That's a long time.  It was so fun to spend a few hours together.  I laughed so hard.  You forget how much you love people sometimes.  I've recommitted to staying in touch better. 

Who doesn't love these fun bouncey houses?  I also visited with my friend, Beth, and she has one.  Samantha was in heaven!

Beth and her sweet Claire

Beth and Claire got along, mmmm, fairly well.  We'll see how they do next year.


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