Wednesday, January 25, 2012

General Mills Review and Giveaway

We were so excited the other day to come home to a package from BlogSpark.  In it were five boxes of General Mills cereals for our family to try.  My girls were super excited as you can tell, 

This is what was included:

We are always looking for ways to get good food into our children.  One recent suggestion for eating healthier is to switch to foods containing whole grains.  This increases fiber intake and improves digestion.  
Cereal's with the white check make it easy to identify which ones are made with whole grains.  
For my kids it was love at first bite.  We often use cereal as a snack or even a dessert and getting them more whole grains in the process is all the better.
According to Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of “The Doctors,” identifying whole grain products can be challenging. Shoppers can look for nutritional cues on the front of the box, but they need to read the ingredient list to know if they are getting enough whole grain. Ingredient lists detail ingredients in order of prevalence, and if the words “whole grain” are followed by a grain like wheat or oats, it means the food contains more whole grain than any other single ingredient. Here’s how to determine if your cereals have whole grain as a first ingredient:

With all the health messages facing grocery store shoppers, it can be confusing to translate what appears on food labels into nutritional needs, and hard to determine which foods have a meaningful amount of whole grain. Dr. Stork has some additional recommendations to help you include whole grain easily into your diet. They include:

Start Early! The Dietary Guidelines recommend people get at least 48 grams of whole grain in their daily diets. Get a jump-start on the day’s nutrition by incorporating whole grain into your morning routine. For instance, when choosing cereal make sure whole grain is listed as the first ingredient. One easy choice is cereal with the white check, which have more whole grain than any other single ingredient.

Make Simple Swaps. Choose whole grain versions of the foods you love. Great options include whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread or even whole grain crackers. Also, try different types of whole grain. Use brown rice instead of white rice as a side dish at dinner or popcorn, which is a whole grain, for a snack.

Don’t Judge a Food by Its Cover. The front of food packages provide good nutritional cues, but don’t forget to read the ingredients and check the nutrition label and side labels for additional health information. Cereals with the white check even include the amount of whole grain per serving on packaging.To help with choosing products with whole grain, General Mills developed “Fast Lane for Whole Grain,” an online educational game. Consumers can navigate virtual grocery store aisles and identify products that have whole grain as the first ingredient, with the option to enter a sweepstakes to win one of each of the 50 cereals with the white check.
Make a commitment to add more whole grain to your diet by simply pouring a bowl of cereal with the white check including Cheerios®, Lucky Charms®, Cinnamon Toast Crunch®, Honey Nut Cheerios® and Total®.

For more information on the importance of whole grain and a chance to enter the “Fast Lane for Whole Grain” sweepstakes, visit
You also have a chance here to win the same prize package I recieved and begin introducing your family to yummy whole grains.  Disclosure: The prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.
what's in it:
5 Boxes of General Mills cereal with the white check
Now the good stuff.  Here is how you enter to win:
*Comment on my Blog by answering this question: With which of your favorite General Mills cereals with the white check will you kick start your morning this New Year?
You can earn more entries by spreading the word:
Follow my blog (comment below letting me know)- 1 entry
Post about this gieaway on Face Book (Comment Below Letting me know)-1 entry
Tweet about this giveaway  (Comment Below Letting me know)-1 entry each up to 5
No more entries will be accepted after midnight on February 7, 2012.  One person will be chosen using luck and Happy eating!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alphabet Soup

So I have been contemplating all week just how to put into words our latest visit to Stanford.  I have feelings of relief, irritation and a little wondering when it comes to the next steps.  Dr. Lee-Messer did another Neuro work up on Jasz, which I guess needs to happen at regular intervals throughout his life.  Everything is about like the last time we saw him, so no new news there.

Since our last visit, He went over Jasz' genetics testing.  He found the addition on chromosome 16 is associated generally with Autism and learning disabilities.  Okay, but Jasz isn't showing signs of either at this point.  The deletion on Chromosome 15 is a little more interesting in that the specific deletion isn't near anything, but further along on that chromosome there are the genes associated with Mitochondria.  Though those were intact, one of his theories is that the missing piece on Jasz' chromosome may be the switch that turns those genes he may be missing the light switch. 

It had been a month since John and I had had our genetic test run, so we were surprised when he told us he had not received the results.  Well, they had received them, but no one had delivered them to the Dr.  Once he looked at those he discovered two interesting things.  John has the same addition of chromosome 16 and I also have a piece missing on chromosome 15, but not the same piece.  Interesting.  Makes you wonder what the combination of those mutations means...if anything.  Dr. Messer said it was all very interesting information, but not in the end that useful.  Listening, and later reading about the specific alterations in our genetic make-up had two effects.  I began to hear and after read them like a bowl of alphabet soup.  My brain was trying to make sense of these letters and numbers and there really is no sense to be made.  The second feeling I had is being vulnerable.  I know it may sound strange but, these people saw us to the core, they saw what we are made of.  It's like being stripped naked and then some.  Maybe others wouldn't feel that way but there was a part of me that did and still does.  Then being told it really didn't provide useful information after being told it was important we have this done, felt even more violating.  Don't get me wrong. Dr. Messer is a nice guy and I truly believe he was hoping for a magic answer out of that testing.  The effect is the same however.

Dr. Messer presented us with a neatly typed report from our first visit with him.  He outlined in detail for us his neurological and muscular findings of Jasz.  Then he laid out a step-by-step plan he wants to pursue....eventually.  You see, Jasz is doing AWESOME praise the Lord!!! In light of his forward progress and lack of regressions we are at a stand still with testing.  Eventually, some more blood work may need to be done, an MRI and a muscle biopsy.   But, until he goes backwards in progress those tests will not be as relevant.  Things won't really show up when he is doing well.  So we are in status quo mode and it feels good!!  We still will go back every 6 months for a neuro work up. 

The last thing he left us with was that he is referring us to another department at Stanford...the nuerogenetics department.  Apparently, they have specific expertise in Mitochondrial disease.  He wants to be sure that Jasz is on the right supplement and if he may need additional medications or different one's.  Since the Carnitine worked so well for Jasz it's not likely that will be changed, but they may add some CoEQ10.  You see he still has stamina problems and just plain gets tired fast.  So the Carnitine is helping with muscle strength but can do nothing for stamina.  Mitochondrial disease is a cellular disease and thus his cells need a little help regenerating energy.

We will trust in the Lord in this journey, we haven't been led astray yet.  I think at this point we have been given some breathing room and I'll take it!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How do you say Thank-you

How Do you say thank-you
for a gift you didn't know you needed?
How Do you say thank-you
For a gift of endless value?

How Do you say goodbye
to those who have touched your life
How Do you say Goodbye
to something that has become a part of you?

Is a thank-you enough
for the time spent?
Is a thank-you enough
for the tasks accomplished?

Is goodbye necessary
to those such a part of your life?
Is goodbye necessary
or can simply less time suffice?

Today I am sad and I do not know the words
Today I am thankful and words seem not enough
Today I wish for more time
Today I do not wish to say goodbye

The above are the words that have been floating through my head for a week now.  You see we realized that in just four short weeks John II will be 3.  Three is the age when he is no longer able to receive services through the program he has been.  In four weeks we say good bye to Trina, Sherry and Kate.  Though I pray they remain a part of our life the reality is there will be no more weekly visits.

We are going through the process of getting him assessed for the preschool services.  We are not sure if he will qualify and even if he does it,  means a whole new group of people in our lives.  We have spoken with Trina about horseback riding at her family's ranch and she has assured me this can continue past his birthday.  Kate may be providing Physical therapy for private pay after his birthday and all three have repeatedly told me they want my son in their life if I will allow it.

I find myself sad still.  Past experience has taught me a few things...people get busy with their lives and when not compelled to call they don't.  This includes myself.  I find myself at a loss for how to show my appreciation.  Trina was the only one working with my son whose determination and positive attitude carried me through.  She told me my son would walk when Dr.'s had told me otherwise.  Then she made it happen.

Sherry helped my son with his sensory issues.  She took him from eating mostly pureed foods to a reasonable diet.  From using a bottle to drinking out of a cup. Though we still have setbacks, we both believe it is mostly age related more than continued sensory issues, only time will tell.  Sherry was not a positive person in the beginning but having known her longer and better now, I believe that is how she shows concern.  She cared about John's well being and it was her way of pushing for things she felt necessary to be done.

Kate has been the newest member and at this point she is really the only one still needed. She has helped build John's strength even in the 6 months she's been working with him.  Kate instantly became a part of John's life and we hope her skills will still be available to us.

To me thank-you seems insufficient.  How do you thank someone for hope?  How do you thank someone for granting a wish you had been told wasn't possible?  Maybe their thanks is the satisfaction of seeing John today from where he came for me I am at a loss.