Our little pumpkin is sick with the cold that took me down last week, which means... well... there's not a lot of writing time. Add that to four boys all in hockey, and well... I'm a wee bit of a stressed-out hot mess, and I'm loving every single second of it.
It's pretty funny, when acquaintances see me with these 5 kids, I usually get some rather asinine comment like, "Don't you have your hands full!" Or, "Wow, you're fostering now? Isn't that a bit much with Jason gone?"
To which I kinda reply:
And my Best Friend calls me just about every day (I'm pretty sure just to make sure I haven't lost my ever-loving mind), and assures me daily:
Really. Even when I send the boys to get changed after hockey and Aaron... well... in public, he comes out of the locker room, and I'm all:
Because my 10 year-old is wearing 5T jeans. And No, I'm not kidding. And so I ask him, "Dude, what is going on with your pants?" And he tells me, "Mom, you gave me Chase's pants!"
And I totally feel guilty for about 2 milliseconds. That is until I realize, and tell him, "Aaron... YOU packed your hockey bag."
This is just one example of the shenanary taking place in my home. I'm trying to figure out how to juggle everything that's coming at me while Jason's away, to thrive, not just survive, and maybe, just MAYBE figure out why I keep losing my car keys. I'm functioning on an average of about 5 hours sleep a night, and I swear to the heavens, I'm late to EVERYWHERE I go right now.
If you've been an unfortunate victim of my lack of punctuality, and my ensuing... um... wenchiness from said lateness... well, I'm sorry. I'm a breathing disaster zone at the moment.
Yet, I swear, I've never been so blissed out. If Jason was here, these last few weeks would have been the most perfect of our life. There's little pink laundry, and giggles, and bottles, and smiles, and boys laughing, and hockey, and HAIRBOWS!
Adjusting to the Little Miss has been fantastic, and I think we're (after 3 weeks) settling into a routine. I mean, chaos is a routine, right?
Agreeing with my sister here, we're just kinda going day-by-day:
So, to the point here: remember THIS blog? The one where I talked about going Paleo? Well, I'm still rocking it all these months later. I'm down a good-bit of weight, where I'm about a pound over where I graduated high school, but a jean-size smaller than my 18 year-old self. Whoop Whoop! I'll fill you in on that another time, because this blog is about my kids. Well, my insanity about feeding my kids.
For those of you who don't know, our youngest boy, Brody, has epilepsy. Well, I've been doing research into everything that could possibly help us get him off these meds, and what has come up? Gluten. Yes, I know a lot of the studies only pertain to kids with celiacs, but when you have a child with a condition that could possibly put limits on what he can do with his life, you're willing to try just about anything.
So I decided to take the kids gluten free. Jason supports it 100%, but I'm pretty sure he's over there like:
And I'm talking to him about the benefits of a gluten-free diet, and the menu plans and bulk-buying and he's kinda all:
Bottom line: He's always up for what makes me happy.
First thing I did was menu-plan using mostly my paleo recipes, and then add the select grains to the kids' servings. That way we're eating nearly the same thing. Then, I set a date for Oct 1, and went to the store, where I realized that the way to raise the cost of something about 200% is just to add the words: Gluten Free.
That first shopping expedition? Checking out I was kinda like:
So I unload all our groceries and then spend Monday, while the kids are at school, indulging in their last gluttonous-gluten lunch, doing freezer cooking for the next month since I'm all weirdo-nesty lately. (Go figure since you know what's [ie who's] coming, RIGHT?)
Monday night, 30 Sept? One last normal Pizza. Kind of like a wake for our bad eating habits.
Tuesday? Gluten-Free and ready to rock. I cleaned out the pantry so there's no more gluten, and the freezer, and the cabinets, and the candy jar. ALL GONE. I pack lunches that morning and feel like I've basically created the most astounding thing EVER because my kids are gluten-free, and I take a look at the lunch like:
Why yes, yes, they are. Those gluten-free sharks are rocking my world. I'm feeling massively accomplished over something as silly as a packed lunch.
So that's Tuesday. At 4:37 pm, DSS calls us, and by 5:45 pm, they drop off Pumpkin at hockey practice. Yup. I took my kids gluten-free the same day I became an official foster mommy, which kinda made me feel like I totally:
I guess go big or go home right?
I've been pretty proud of myself, because I've kept them almost 100% consistent, and for the most part they've been rock stars about not complaining and trying every new thing I toss at them. Oh, but Aaron is kind of like:
But he's taking it like a champ too. Plus, we've discussed that this isn't a commandment kind of thing. If they're out (like they were at Miss Stepford's little one's b-day party last weekend), and they have a cupcake, then that's a choice they make. We do gluten-free in this house, and gluten-free packed lunches. If they make a separate choice, well, then that's their prerogative. Except Brody, he's stuck on the gluten-free track. ;)
Oh, and seriously, if one more person implies that I'm depriving my kids of a "normal" childhood because their waffles are gluten-free and their pizza isn't puffy. Well, guess what? I'm making this choice FOR them, not TO them. It's not to punish them, or force them into weird foods; it's because I've done my research and I want them to feel as good as I do without gluten. sooo....
So for any of you contemplating taking your kiddos gluten-free, I thought I'd show you a bit of what they've been taking for lunch. Consider this the LunchBox Project, version 2.0.
Welcome to the Boys' gluten-free world:
Turkey and Cheese sammi (GF bread), Strawberries, sugar-snap peas, blueberry yogurt, pumpkin/flax granola (to mix into yogurt).
Don't mock the capri-sun. One thing at a time, here, peeps. Peanut butter banana waffle sandwich (kid fave), carrots, raspberry yogurt, GF pretzels, and pumpkin/flax granola (that's kinda a staple here).
GF Crackers, American cheese slices, sliced deli turkey, strawberries, strawberry/banana yogurt, sweet cucumbers.
Ham/Cheese Quesadilla, popcorn, pickles, strawberry mousse (home-made), raspberries
Cheese cubes, summer sausage, kiwi berries, raspberry yogurt, sugar-snap peas, GF pretzels
Ham/Cheese roll ups on GF tortillas, carrots, strawberry mousse, GF choc. chip cookies, applesauce. (Yes, I put it on top of the insane doormat I made for the picture, stop judging me.)
Home-made GF corndog muffins, GF Pretzels, Orange slices (See, Running Woman, now I think of you when I slice up oranges, LOL!), carrots, strawberry/banana yogurt and pumpkin/flax granola.
To show you what Brody's lunch looks like, because he eats at home, but I keep it the same as the other boys'. Cantaloupe melon, cauliflower, colby-jack cheese, kiolbasi, and vanilla pudding with blueberries.
Summer Sausage, mini babybel, GF crackers, clementine, blueberry yogurt, carrots, candycorn (because it's fall, and it's fun.)
Oh, and this is how I survive parties, (when I remember). I prebaked a dozen or so GF cupcakes, frosted them, flash froze them and then individually stored them. Now, if we're headed to a birthday party, Brody has his own ready to rock and roll, or treats are easy to dish out.
So far they're loving it. It's been three weeks, and we have less stomach problems, less lethargy, more energy (which I think they suck directly out of me), and a more adventurous attitude toward food. It's amazing to involve them, and how much interest they take in what they're eating now. They understand why we're cutting this out, and they're more than supportive, they're excited.
I am constantly in awe of my children.
Okay, with a sick baby and busy boys, this blog just took me about 7 hours between rocking, feeding, soothing, cooking, cleaning, bandaging, Rinse/Repeat. That's plain nuts.
If I get into bed NOW, I can indulge in 7 hours of sleep.
But, I know Jason will hop online momentarily, so I'll be up a wee bit longer. Oh, if you see me out and about, have mercy. I promise, I'm trying to smile, and be cordial and kind, but with the amount of stuff swimming around in my brain right now? Well, it might come out more like:
Just a wee touch of insanity.
This is a little harder than I thought it would be, but I'm really loving every second of it. Well, all but the undecided part of Pumpkin's little future. That's just a lot of prayer and hope that the best things happen for her, whatever they may be.
So yeah, we're pushing through, waiting for Jason to get home to this insane little house, and our non-gluten kitchen, and our new little family member.
But it's okay, the boys have stepped up as a team to rally around their new "little sister." My children amaze me, and leave me humbled with their kindness, their ability to adapt, their willingness to try new things, and their absolute acceptance of our little Pumpkin into their hearts.
My cup runneth over, folks.