Our Farm

Friday, December 10, 2010

Adkison Family Christmas Letter 2010

Merry Christmas from the Adkison Family!

This year we are foregoing postage and only sending this out via e-mail.  So if you know someone that has not received this, please fwd it or print it – thanks!

Our past year has been busy, busy, busy and full of changes.

Last Christmas we had John’s parents, brother Brent and wife Christine, and Jennifer’s parents all over for dinner and dessert.  The boys had a blast with both sets of grandparents and their aunt and uncle spoiling them.

John turned the big 4-0 in April!  We had a low-key celebration with close family at a favorite park.
Just after John turned 40 he got laid off from Sogeti.  In June he was hired by a contract firm where he is currently working at Disney in their Seattle office.  He really likes working there and he and Jennifer are hoping this will turn into a permanent position working directly for Disney.

Jaxon turned 5 in late July and had a fun party with friends and family at Forest Park in Everett.  It was a hot day, so we got to play in the park’s water sprinklers in addition to their traditional playground.

Over Labor Day we drove to Montana for Jennifer’s 10 yr class reunion!  Jennifer ended up being the one to put it together since she asked the loaded question of who was doing it.  It was great to see some classmates after 10 yrs, have fun at a parade in Plains, and spend time with Grandpa and Grandma “B.”

In September 3 out of the 4 of us headed back to school!  Brycen for his first full year of pre-school for the first time at Mrs. Delia’s Daycare, Jaxon for kindergarten at Odyssey Elementary School, and Jennifer for her first year back to college since 2004 at Edmonds Community College.  Everyone likes their school and is doing well!  Brycen is the biggest eater in his class and even eats the healthy salads and veggies.  Jaxon excels in drawing, is getting the hang of reading, and surprises Mom and Dad with addition and subtraction answers out of the blue.  Despite not liking math, Jennifer is getting A’s in her pre-algebra class (the only class she’s enrolled in)!

This past fall we had our barns re-roofed thanks to Washington’s Barn Rehabilitation Project.
Grandpa and Grandma “B” came out for a visit in November.  Although they were unable to stay for Thanksgiving, we had an early turkey day dinner of our own, combined with early birthday celebration of Brycen’s 4th birthday.   

On November 22nd the entire northwestern part of Washington was shut down by snow and ice.  It took John 7 hours to get home from work, as opposed to his usual 45-60 minute commute.  The next day we all went sledding!  Unfortunately, Jennifer ran into some playground equipment and fractured 2 of her ribs.  She is counting the day for when she can return to sledding.

On November 25th, the 4 of us took the ferry over to Whidbey Island where we spent the day with Grandpa and Grandma “A” and Uncle Brent and Auntie Christine.

Brycen turned 4 at the end of November and we had his party in early December at Jump Planet (a warehouse filled with inflatable bouncy slides and obstacle courses).  All the kids (and even some of the adults) seemed to have a great time.

For Christmas this year we will be spending it with John’s family.  A cousin John grew up with will be visiting with her family from California, so we hope to spend some time with them before they head back home.

From Jennifer:  May Christ be your light during the winter’s darkness and throughout the rest of your year.

Here’s to wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

With love,
John, Jennifer, Jaxon and Brycen Adkison

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cloth Diapers

Have you ever felt like you don't belong?  That's how I felt this morning at MOPS.  The topic was saving money and diapers and this group of women were discussing some great diaper coupons they found.  When they were through gushing I asked, "Has anyone tried cloth diapers as a way to save money?"  A silence fell over the table and it were as if I'd said a bad word.  One woman spoke up and said she'd tried it but it didn't work.  I asked her what kind she'd tried and shared the kind I used and how much I loved them.  A few others asked a couple questions, but then the coupons were brought back up as if cloth were not an option for them.

This incident brings up two sets of questions for me:  #1.  Am I really relating to other women at MOPS anymore?  Have I ever?  Should I find a "green" mothering group to attend instead?  #2.  Why does the mention of cloth diapering stun people?  Why won't more people consider trying?  And why are people's assumptions tied to pre-folds?

Before this incident I've been thinking and have come to the conclusion that this will more than likely be my last year in MOPS even though I can technically go for two more years.  It's not that I'm appalled that no one took my suggestion, but that I even had to bring it up because my values and ideals are so far removed from most others'.  I think I used to relate to these women, but more so concerning lack of sleep due to two babies, craving adult conversation, and a break from my kids.  Our family's sleep is now usually un-interrupted.  Facebook and my daily schedule of being out and about fulfill most of my need for adult conversation.  I now  find a break when I go to church, when the boys are at school, and while I'm at school.  My use for MOPS is fading as the boys grow older and I enter back into school.  I'd love to find a "green" mothering group, so maybe I should look into that.

The answer as to why the suggestion of using cloth stuns people eludes me.  Especially when more and more people are going "green" in so many other areas.  To me it's a given not to fill our landfills with dirty disposable diapers that may never decompose.  Is it the added "work" of using cloth that scares people away?  Is it the "yuck" factor?  And why people's assumptions are still tied to pre-folds when this is the 21st century must be due to lack of advertising!  If only Parent magazine, Vogue, and other glossy magazines made cloth diapering fashionable and trendy!  How much the disposable diaper companies would hate this!  It might go as far as to put them out of business!  But alas, we are far from that point.  Until then, I will continue to share my fun - yes fun! - experience of cloth diapering with anyone who will listen, even if that means feeling like a black sheep.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Almost October

Well it's almost October and today is the last day of the second week that 3 out of 4 of us have been in school!

Jaxon is doing well in kindergarten and seems to really enjoy it.  He goes half a day and is always excited to tell me what he did each day.  Right now he's working on reading simple three letter words.  I'm noticing his speech delay more while he's trying to sound out the words than when he carries on a conversation.  I'm hoping this doesn't hinder him from learning to read.  Jaxon started off the year by having me walk him to his classroom, we have now reached the point to where I walk him to his "play ground teacher" (who stands outside to make sure all the kids go inside) and walk back to our car and drive off.  I'm hoping to get him to the point where I drive him up to the curb (where the "play ground teacher" stands) and drop him off by the end of October.

Brycen is Brycen.  He seems to be content in pre-school, 5 half days a week.  His friend Drew is there twice a week, and he seems excited when Drew is there with him.  I think the time away from Mommy and Jaxon is good for him so he can find his own interests apart from us.

My one pre-algebra class is going well!  So far there's no need for a tutor! :)  Matter of fact, I got 100% on my first quiz on Monday!  The really funny thing about my class is that my professor is one of Jaxon's Sunday school teachers and the mom to Jaxon's favorite friend at church!  Plus, I couldn't have asked for a better teacher!  She teaches in a way that I "get" it and I'm hoping to keep her as my professor as I move up in math since she teaches more advanced algebra as well.

I saw my psychiatrist last Friday and since then she's lowered my ani-psychotic meds by half - so far so good!  I'm completely surprised that it's going so well.  I thought with the added stress of school that it wouldn't work and it'd put me over the edge...I'm still waiting for that to happen.  Until then, I'm only taking 20 mg of Geodon once a day!

John is still contracted out to Disney.  And I'm still praying that Disney will hire him directly.  Right now John is carpooling with a friend of mine from Sunday school, who works for Disney, whose mother-in-law watches the boys while I go to class.  It certainly is a small world!

By now the roofs on the barns have been completed and we're anxious to see them!  We saw the half done last weekend, and they looked pretty good if I do say so myself.  Just hoping those metal roofs don't blind people driving down the road!

That's about all that's been going on with us. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I've debated about talking about bipolar on my blog, if I should create a separate blog for it, or just not mention it.  Since I don't want another blog to manage, and bipolar is a big part of my life, I've decided to talk about on here.

For those of you that don't know, I will give you a brief history.  Just before Thanksgiving of 2007 I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Rapid Cycling disorder.  I tried two kinds of meds before finding the one that I'm on now.

While trying to find the right meds for me, my mom had to come stay with us to help out with the kids because we never knew how I would react to the meds.  If my mom hadn't come out to help us, I would have had to have been hospitalized during that time which would have created the need for someone to take care of the boys anyway, so it was just easier - and lest costly - to stay home and have my mom there.  I am grateful to her - and my dad for putting up with her being gone - for spending a total of 3-4 months with us while I went through that time.

I have been stable on my current meds since the spring of 2008.  I don't want to switch meds because of all of the hassle that goes along with it.  But at the same time, I'm so tired of getting tired when I take my meds!!!  The only side effect that I've noticed with the meds I'm on is that they make me extremely sleepy.  When I first started taking them I took one in the morning and the other in the evening.  Since that required me to take a nap in the mornings, it didn't work too well when John was working and I had two little boys to take care of.  Then I switched to taking them at 4pm and 8pm.  That freed me up in the day time, but by the time John got home it was all I could do to give him dinner before I went to take a nap, thus missing out on putting the boys to bed and spending any evening time with John.  Then I tried taking both of them at 8pm, but the effects would wear off beforehand, which wasn't good.  So now I'm taking one at 6pm and the other at 8pm.  This allows me to help put the boys to bed and gives me a little bit of time with John in the evenings.  The only problem is, I'm so tired of feeling tired when I take them!  I know I shouldn't complain, but I want to act like an adult!  I don't want to feel like going to bed right after I put my kids in bed!  And by taking my meds at night it makes me drowsy in the morning if I haven't gotten a full 10-12 hours of sleep, which I can only do on Saturdays, so waking up early to spend time with John before he goes off to work doesn't work, either.

It's never bothered me that I will take pills every day for the rest of my life, but the side effects of these pills are really making me second guess my call into midwifery.  Will I be able to attend births in the middle of the night?  Will I be awake enough?  Will my body really run on adrenaline to get me through those births?  There isn't anything that I can take to wake me up unless I want to take another RX on top of what I'm already on, which I don't want to do unless absolutely necessary.

I would love answers from someone whose going through the same thing, but I have yet to run a across a bipolar midwife.  However, I do know of a bipolar doula who says she runs on caffeine for those middle of the night births...but I'm ADD, and caffeine has the opposite effect on me, it puts me to sleep!

So I guess we'll see what happens.  I have yet to attend a birth, let alone one that's in the middle of the night.  My plan right now is to get through school, find out during that time how I handle births (a good part of all three years of midwifery school is hands-on), and when I'm done see if I can handle it enough to become an LM/CPM.  If not, my plan is to teach and/or speak at conferences.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Beginning of Summer 2010

A LOT has happened since I last blogged!  Where do I begin?

John got laid off just after his birthday (in April) so we've been in limbo for a month and a half not sure if we should move up to the farm or stay where we're at.  John was offered a job up in Blaine through the Skagit Valley Casino, but after much thought and discussion he turned it down (it would have meant moving up to the farm).  Soon thereafter he had a bunch of interviews and he landed a 6 month contracting position for Disney!  Today is his first day on the job.  We're hoping that Disney will like him enough that they'll hire him on directly.  If not, it'll be back to job searching again in 6 months...just in time for Christmas.

One of the reasons we decided to stay where we're it is because I have decided to go back to school!  My plan is to take my AA transfer degree and prerequisites at Edmonds Community College and apply for Bastyr University's midwifery program in January.  From what I was told by Bastyr's admissions is that it's hard to get in, so my grades need to be the best possible if I'm even going to be looked at.  Yikes!  I'm nervous but also excited.

Since we have chosen to stay where we're at and I'm going to go back to school, we have made the tough decision to sell the farm.  I think it will hit the boys the hardest.  I wish there was some way to explain it to them that wouldn't hurt so much, but there isn't.  They love playing there SO MUCH!  John and I don't want to let it go, either, but God is showing me that that WAS a season in our life and that season has come to a close.  It's time to let it go and say hello to the new season and what it has in store for us.  Our plan is to re-roof the barns and then put it on the market.

The boys had their last day of school on Thursday.  My goal over the summer is to teach Jaxon how to read.  So far he's just memorizing the words, but I'm hoping he'll begin sounding out the words on his own like I've been showing him.  Jaxon begins Kindergarten in the fall at a new school and Brycen will be attending a different pre-school (not sure where or which one!) as well.  Both will still receive some speech therapy when school begins again on a weekly basis.  So for the summer I'm hoping to utilize the Children's Museum, YMCA, local parks, and the library as much as possible!  Somewhere in there I'll need to figure out what to do with all the things we're bringing back from the farm.

Here's to a great summer before the new chapter in our lives begins!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I just wanted to share what my family did for me.

The boys and I started the morning by going to ACC for Sunday school and church service while Dad stayed home and made my surprise.  When we got home the house smelled of freshly baked cookies!  John, who hates to do anything in the kitchen and leaves most of the cooking up to me, had baked me oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch!  I'm so happy that he took the time to do something for me that he doesn't like but knew I would.  I love you, John!

Brycen had come home from school on Thursday with a cute picture of himself that he'd decorated and a necklace he'd made for my Mother's Day gift (although he told me the necklace was his:).  Jaxon saved his gift for me for Sunday and gave it to me at lunch time.  I opened up a colorful box to find that it wasn't tissue paper that made it so colorful (the box was clear) it was the gift:  a beautiful silk scarf that he'd dyed himself!  I will be wearing the scarf and necklace (if Brycen lets me) to church next Sunday.

Thank you to my wonderful family for a nice, enjoyable, and relaxing Mother's Day!  I appreciate all of the work and thought that you put into my gifts.  I love you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Raw Milk = 10 lbs Lost!

As I was drinking a glass of raw milk last night, I realized something that could be a coincidence or an actual cause and effect:  Since switching from "regular" milk to raw milk I've lost 10 lbs!  For the last week or so I've noticed my jeans are so loose that I need to wear a belt now.  The other day I weighed myself and the scale showed that I had indeed lost 10 lbs.  So couldn't it be that YMCA membership we have now?  Probably not, because I only seem to get in once every week and I haven't noticed the weight loss until just recently and we've had the membership since January.  Am I eating differently?  Yes.  I'm eating more raw foods (veggies and dairy) and drinking more tea since we've switched from "regular" to raw milk about 2 months ago now.  The biggest factor in my eyes is the raw milk.  I rule out the veggies because I'm not eating more of them, I've just been eating them raw instead of cooked.  Where as with the milk, I've not only been drinking more of it, but I've been drinking the raw cream in large amounts in my tea and lattes.  Raw milk and cream naturally have more fat in them.  So shouldn't that cause me to gain more weight instead of loose weight?  I think the whole low-fat low-calorie diet craze is a big myth.  If you eat healthy fats and calories it may actually cause you to loose weight because you're not depriving your body of the essential vitamins and minerals that it needs to function properly.

For instance, if you eat feed-lot beef (fed a diet of corn and/or soy w/out much room to move around and given hormones and antibiotics) it has a higher fat content than grass-fed beef.  The things that it eats are more concentrated in its fat.  Thus when you eat it you're eating a concentrated amount of those hormones and antibiotics (as well as soy - which has been proven to mimic estrogen - and corn).  If you eat grass-fed beef, it has a lower fat content, and what fat it does have is rich in those vitamins and minerals from the grass and alfalfa that it ate.

So too with "regular" pasteurized/homogenized milk, the cow has been fed a corn/soy diet.  It's been given antibiotics and growth hormones.  Those things are going to concentrate in the fat of the cow's milk.  Then the milk is heated to a high temperature to kill off any "bad bugs" (pasteurization) which also kills the good things like beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.  This is why vitamins A and D must be added into the milk after pasteurization because any of the good things have been killed along with the bad.  Then you homogenize it, which breaks down the particles by shaking it up so much that the fat can't separate from the rest of the milk.  And then you have whole milk, 2%, 1%, and fat-free.  You'd think that fat free would be your best bet, but it's actually the worst.  From my understanding of fat free milk it has had powdered milk protein added to it (some of which contains MSG) so as to give it a higher protein content because there is no fat found in it.  I'm still not clear on the whole "fat free" concept and what goes into make it that, but I do know for a fact that they've added powdered milk protein to it.  In my opinion, no thanks!  Then you have your organic milk, which may or may not have been fed a grass-only diet.  But at least they claim not to have had hormones are antibiotics.  And lastly, you have raw milk.  Most raw milk has been fed an all-grass or mostly-grass diet.  Grass and alfalfa are high in vitamins A and D that unlike the vitamins added to "regular" milk, are easy for our bodies to digest because of their structure (again I'm not a scientist or a dr, so I can't explain the details of one structure from another).  So when you drink raw milk, you're getting all of those good vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are naturally occurring, not added.

Did you know that cows are not designed to eat grains?  When they do it introduces E-coli into their gut which in turn raises the chance of us getting E-coli if we eat the meat or dairy from a cow that ate grains.  A grass-fed cow, on the other hand, does not have E-coli in its gut because a cow is designed by nature to eat grass and only grass which in turn does not produce a scary bacteria such as E-coli.

To sum up, grain-fed cows introduce a host of "bad" things into our bodies if we eat and drink their byproducts.  Grass-fed cows in comparison have no need for the antibiotics because they don't get sick because they're eating what they're supposed to eat.  And farmers who actually care aren't going to give them growth hormones.  Thus eating and drinking the byproducts of grass-fed cows is beneficial to our bodies.

I hope you have the chance to try raw milk.  I'm hooked on the stuff.  My husband no longer has lactose intolerant symptoms.  My kids love to drink milk now that's not flavored.  I'm planning on making home-made ice cream from the raw cream so John can enjoy ice cream again w/out taking a pill and having its side effects.  In the end, I'm in love with raw dairy and don't understand why we ever went away from it given the facts we now have.  And to top it all off, I've LOST 10 LBS! :)