Saturday, January 29, 2011

Having another Kid!

I'm guessing anyone reading my blog ( anyone out there in blog land after my long hiatus?) already knows that I am having "TWINS." If you don't know, don't get excited. They aren't the kind of twins anyone WANTS to have. They are kids....sort of. I have kidney stones.

I suspect I've had them moving around for months. I had lower back pain several months ago at night but by morning the pain was gone. Since I have fibromyalgia, I tend to attribute pain like that to my muscles. Then, in late October, I had something unusual go along with it. NOTE: If you haven't had a kidney stone this may be TMI (too much information). I started having blood in my urine. Not normal.

I went to the doctor's office and had a urine test done. I saw a nurse practicioner who put me on antibiotics for a urinary tract infection and said to let her know if it wasn't better in 10 days or something. I took the pills. The bleeding stopped, but about a month later started up again. The pain continued to come on & off at night. Since I've had a kidney stone (albeit 18 years ago), I kept thinking lower back pain with some pain in the pelvic area sounded like a kidney stone, not a UTI. I mentioned this to the Nurse Practicioner, who again said to take another round of antibiotics for this, but if it was better, then we knew that was the problem. And I did. And it did get better. For awhile.

About 2 weeks ago the pain and the bleeding started up again. I called the clinic and they told me to come in and see a nurse. They did the urine sample. The doctor read the results & back on an antibiotic. I told the nurse I suspected a kidney stone. She us if it doesn't get better. She also said I'd have to see a doctor to ask about getting a referral to a specialist. Ugh. Why didn't they schedule me with a doctor when I called?

Here is the problem with kidney stones and diagnosing them: they only hurt when they are moving. They can be in your kidneys just relaxing having a good ol' time and you never know it. Then one day you go from feeling fine to being in labor without an epidural. With my first stone, I'd never had a baby & the man doctor said this pain was worse than labor. Apparently he'd never had a baby either. I had no epidural with my first born. I didn't even get demmorhal (spelling very likely way off there). I got Nubane. I'm not sure what it is but I'm guessing it's Tylenol with a $50 price tag. With the kidney stone, they gave me demmorhal & I was HAPPY!

Back to this stone, or stones. That was on a Thursday that I saw the nurse. I took my 7 days of bactrim. Mind you, I've been on so many rounds of antibiotics for upper respiratory crud that there is no way my immune system can handle much more of this. On Saturday, a week after I saw the nurse, I woke up around 4 or 5 with really bad lower back pain. I KNEW this time it was a kidney stone. I also knew that there was nothing I could do about it, so I just took ibuprofen. I also knew my husband had not been out of the house is weeks except to go to work and was hoping to ride his motorcycle for a bit that day, so I didn't tell him I was hurting in the morning. Really, I wasn't to the point of tears, but it was bad enough that I could not rest. When he got home I was still about the same, so had him take me to the ER. Several hours later, a CT scan, 4 pokes to find a vein that would give blood, and I was sent home with the diagnosis of 2 kidney stones on the left side that are moving and 2 on the right side that are just in the kidney not obstructing anything. They also gave me some Lortab (hydrocodone, like Vicodin, but it has part of my name in it--LOL). And if I wasn't already feeling like an old man with urinary issues and kidney stones, they put me on FloMax. You know, the stuff they advertise for older men to help with those issues. And another round of Bactrim, because guess what? I was STILL infected!

It's been a week. I had pain on Sunday after coming home from the hospital, but it subsided until Friday. I had slight pain on Friday. Today I've had some sharp pains on my right side, more like where my ovary is. The Lortab isn't doing much for that, but maybe at bedtime it will. I've also spent the week doing some more TMI stuff (such as having to strain my urine, which means....well, I'll let you figure out what it means!).

Sounds like I'm complaining. Maybe I am, but I don't mean it to sound that way, really. I will take having a kidney stone over what several of my dear friends have gone through with cancer just this past year. It is painful. It isn't fun, but it isn't going to make me go through chemo, I'm not going to lose my hair and throw up daily from it, and it won't take my life. And really, the time to just be at home is kind of nice! Thankful for good friends who've helped tote my kids when they needed to be toted and to my parents for toting ME when I needed to be toted!

I haven't named the twins yet. I guess I should say quads, but since I'm only planning to birth 2 at a time, I'll go with twins. Open to suggestions. ha, ha! I see the urologist on Wednesday, so if I haven't birthed them by then, I hope he will figure out what to do next.

Wishing you a kidney stone free kind of day!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Okay, that was a LONG break for someone who is trying to "post daily." Sorry! I am nearly feeling human TODAY, but we shall see tomorrow. I have a gazillion things I need to do so I will keep this short & sweet. I just have to share a "Bethany-ism" with you. Bethany has a mild form of autism and can say things in the funniest way. She also has a quick wit, so sometimes she actually intends things to sound funny. As a VERY young child I remember her telling her sister, "Natalie, people without any hair are called Head Balls." She heard "baldheaded" and thought they were head balls! She also "educated" her sister on shopping, "Natalie, Old Navy is where old soldiers go to buy their clothes." I've learned from Natalie that she thought Bethany was ALWAYS right since she was the big sister and followed her lead in things. Chances are that's true. Thus we had a kitchen floor painted red. And Natalie had continual loss of chunks of hair. From playing Beauty Shop. Except only Bethany got to be the haircutter. Though there was that ONE time Natalie chased B. with scissors and got a good chunk, but that's a different story.

Anyway, tonight Bethany came up with a great one. I was looking at grocery ads & rather mindlessly asked, "Bethany, do we like tangelos?" She said, "I like oranges," then paused and added, "I like tangerines and I like buffaloes, but I don't know if I like tangelos." LOL! Yeah, Bethany, a tangelo is a mix between tangerine & buffalo. THAT'S it. ha, ha! She's so silly.

Not to be left out, Natalie has always had a quick wit & most the time means to be funny. She suggested for Valentine's day we have a "Pink Elephant" exchange at co-op, like a White Elephant exchange, but call it pink. I told some moms this & one asked her, "So, can you get me a pink elephant?" Natalie, "Sure. What kind do you want?" She went on & on about the types & where to find them. And last time my parents went out of town and the girls didn't know, she said something like, "They never tell us anything anymore!" So my dad called yesterday to tell her he was going out of town! ha, ha!

NEVER a dull moment here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Mystery Post"

My friend Kathy cracks me up. She commented that she's waiting for the "Mystery Post." It makes it sound so, well, mysterious! It's really not. I just have more thoughts on homeschooling to share. I know some people read what homeschoolers share as sounding condemning of anyone who doesn't homeschool. I want to clarify that by sharing the PRO's of homeschooling I am doing just that: sharing the pro's of homeschooling. A list of what's good about one thing doesn't automatically mean you are tossing out another thing. It would be like me sharing the pro's of living in Texas. It would not mean anyone who lives in Florida or Wisconsin or Timbuktu is wrong. So the "Mystery Post" I'm thinking of is going to be pro's AND con's of homeschooling. Why should I write about homeschooling? Well, because it's what I do.

I have not taught in PUBLIC school in 20 years. Does that mean I have no clue what is happening there? No....and yes. I do know that there are still 20 plus kids per class. I DO know that teachers are expected to make sure kids pass a standardize test. I DO know that there are parents who are a teacher's best friend and there are parents who are a teacher's worst nightmare. I'm pretty sure that in the midst of having some sort of classroom management they are also supposed to teach subject matter. I DON'T know exactly what curriculum is being used, how math is taught, or if they have kids in one class all day for elementary or not. I DO know that teachers send the kids home at the end of the school day and get paid for doing their jobs (and for what they do they should get paid more).

I'm fairly certain that teachers cannot: lead students in prayer, teach the Bible as Truth, sing praise songs in class, have class in pj's, on the couch, with snacks and a drink. It's just a fact. Honestly, if I put my kids in school & a teacher came into school with pj's on & wanted to sit close to my kids on a couch I'd be SCARED! There just ARE differences that aren't always good or bad. They just ARE.

So, while I'm dreaming up the rest of my mystery post, I'd be glad to take input from others on pro's & con's of homeschooling. I have ideas in my head, but would love to hear from you. Thanks!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Diagnosis of the Day

In our house we could make knew episodes of "Mystery Diagnosis." Except, I think in that show the patient always died, so we'd have to totally revise it to make it family friendly! Natalie is feeling a LOT better but still, um, needing mucinex. My mom's family used to joke that you could tell you were part of the family because of all the throat scratching/clearing noises due to allergies. Let's just say she's part of the family.

Phil was feeling bad last week, but this week he's just tired. He's not been able to get out on his motorcycle, but "tis the season" for unpredictable weather. It's raining & cold this weekend.

Bethany seems to be the healthiest of the bunch. She had that bit of a sore throat after Christmas, but now is just merrily moving along with life. How can someone that tiny stay so healthy? It IS a mystery!

Then there is Mama. After this last round of Biaxin (very strong antibiotic that made me feel nauseous the whole time I took it), I've now developed a urinary tract infection & am on meds for that. I know I need to get cranberry tablets to take. I HATE cranberry juice. The tablets I can tolerate. Just haven't been out. And I need to get back on the probiotics to be sure I DON'T get another infection. I asked the rheumatologist (I see him for my fibromyalgia) about any test that might be done to see why I get sick so often or if there is something in general causing me to have all these issues. He said, "I don't see any unifying factor here. You just happen to have a bunch of auto-immune disorders." Oh, boy! LOL!

Right now I feel as if I'm in early stage labor except the pain doesn't come in waves/contractions. It just is there. And there's no baby at the end. ha, ha!

Now you know why I missed posting a few days. Am thinking of something new to post about but it will wait. I know all 3 of my readers are waiting anxiously! : )

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And we're off.

That's off as in on. You know, when a race starts and the announcers says, "And we're off..." I guess off to the finish line? Kind of funny that you say you are "off" when you are starting something. Hmmmm.

Today we started co-op. Our homeschool co-op is a group of about 10 families or so this year. People often ask about the "S" word---socialization. I laugh. Really, I try not to laugh, but I do. Seriously, do people think that if you homeschool you live in a cave? Truth is we learn more socialization & social skills than any school setting can teach. As adults, how many of you sit in rows of desks with people your exact same age all day? How many of you have the exact same set of skills and jobs as every other person on the block? In school kids have to be taught by a set of what the states deems necessary for the kids. Plus, having been a classroom teacher, there is no way to do with a class what you can do with kids at home: teach each one on his or her own level & develop a plan of action catering to your child's specific skills and talents. And if school is for socialization, then I missed the boat as a teacher. My goal was to keep kids from socializing. If you are speaking of socialization as interacting with people of different ethnic groups and economic levels, you have far less a chance of doing that in the neighborhood school than you do in the real world. Maybe the ethnic part can be done in school, but just in our neighborhood we lived in until 1 1/2 years ago we had neighbors who were FRIENDS who may have had different skin tones than we did, but my girls never thought twice about that. Most public schools are going to have students from ABOUT the same economic levels because typically a neighborhood or part of town will have similar economic levels. Plus, is the school where you REALLY want your kids to learn their social skills? It's been YEARS since I was a student in a public school, but I distinctly recall learning things from other kids that are NOT what I want my kids learning! At least not in the way we learned them!

Now, take those kids with you to the grocery store, the post office, the downtown library, and let them see street people, talk to people who are wearing different clothing and look totally different, and are not all the same age as your child, and THEN you can talk to me about socialization skills.

Really, though, that isn't why I'm writing this post. In our case, life is different. We have a daughter with mild autism so a huge part of our "curriculum" is teaching life skills. We've spent much of our schooling years teaching things like making eye contact when speaking, answering when being spoken to, learning to play and interact with others. These are things that, unless she were in a special ed classroom, would not likely be TAUGHT. She doesn't just "get" these things by example as your neuro-typical, N/T, ("normal") child would. So, again, if you want to address the "S" word, I will show you all about socialization & socializing.

We started attending our homeschool co-op when Bethany had just turned 7 & Natalie was about to be 5. Many people attend co-ops so their kids can learn things that may not be strong subjects for the parents. Parents teach classes which they feel comfortable teaching. For example, I have taught elementary math classes, middle school cooking classes, and classes based on the American Girl books. I have NOT taught science (apart from being forced to teach early elementary science---LOL), Spanish, or upper level math courses. One mom in our co-op is a huge history buff and a big reader, so she is teaching our high school kids. Another mom speaks Spanish so is teaching that. Yet another is working with the middle school kids on geometry & literature. Natalie is in those classes, which means we are not doing literature or math courses at home, but work on her homework from those classes during the week. Bethany is taking Spanish & art. I can't help much with either but they are things she enjoys & excels in.

As I said, MANY people join co-ops for those reasons. Some join as a means of support. It's hard to be "Lone Ranger" homeschooler. For us, it WAS the "S" word. I wanted Bethany to learn to work in groups (didn't care if they were her age or not) in a SAFE setting, in a SMALL group, with N/T kids. Natalie was picking up on Bethany's behavior, so I wanted her to be exposed to more N/T kids in a setting that would encourage good behavior (not school hallways or bathrooms). Natalie was a pretty mean little girl at times. She will tell you so! She would take toys from kids, hit kids, and just be mean to them! She did NOT need to learn any new "tricks" from kids at a school, but needed as much reinforcement of what we were teaching her from adults. She also needed to learn what "typical" behavior was. Recently she's told us that when she was little she always wanted to do what Bethany did because B. was her big sister & she just figured if Bethany was doing it then it must be the right thing to do. HA! HA! THAT was her first mistake!

Now, the girls are 14 & 12. Our co-op has gone through some changes. In fact, there are only two families that were there the first year we were, and 3 from the 2nd year. People move, goals in homeschooling change, things happen. Some of those girls from those first families have become my girls' best friends. Their moms have become my best friends. You've read about my friends Kathy and Linda and their battles with cancer. You know that Linda lost her battle and that Kathy is fighting hers. You've probably read the name Danette as the other "well" one (non-cancer) who has helped so much with Kathy and Linda. Kelly is another friend who has been helpful with taking care of Linda's dd during these days. The connection is that we all met through our co-op that first and 2nd year we were there. We are all Christians, but come from different churches, so we don't all have the same ways of doing things. We come from different families and backgrounds, so we aren't all "cookie-cutter homeschoolers." We don't even all use the same curriculum. But we have a bond because our our kids. Maybe the co-op wasn't just for social skills for my girls. Maybe it was for social time for me.

Now day 1 is finished. We only have 13 weeks to go! ha, ha! Now the fun begins with homework and schedules and planning. Along with that comes the fun of a house full of girls at any given time. Today is a "slow" day: we only brought one friend home. Some days I have a car full (4 girls) and another mom drops off a couple more! It's about the only way we can leave co-op. The girls love their time together while the moms are chatting, cleaning, etc. Well, the kids have to clean, too. Part of homeschooling is making sure the kids learn REAL life skills. Yes, it is sad, indeed, that these poor homeschool kids have no social skills and no socialization. ;-)

I always joke about not wanting to start co-op because it forces up to wake up early. Yet, once we are there and with our friends I know I am blessed to be part of such a group.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holland Schmolland

This is a different look at life with autism. I found it on THIS web page. I hope it's okay to share. I think if you have any special needs with your kids this is kind of a funny look at what life is like.


By Laura Krueger Crawford

If you have a child with autism, which I do, and if you troll the Internet for information, which I have done, you will come across a certain inspirational analogy. It goes like this: Imagine that you are planning a trip to Italy. You read all the latest travel books, you consult with friends about what to pack, and you develop an elaborate itinerary for your glorious trip. The day arrives. You board the plane and settle in with your in-flight magazine, dreaming of trattorias, gondola rides and gelato. However, when the plane lands you discover, much to your surprise, you are not in Italy - you are in Holland.

You are greatly dismayed at this abrupt and unexpected change in plans. You rant and rave to the travel agency, but it does no good. You are stuck. After a while, you tire of fighting and begin to look at what Holland has to offer. You notice the beautiful tulips, the kindly people in wooden shoes, the French fries and mayonnaise, and you think, “This isn't exactly what I planned, but it’s not so bad. It’s just different.” Having a child with autism is supposed to be like this - not any worse than having a typical child - just different.

When I read that, my son was almost three, completely non-verbal and was hitting me over a hundred times a day. While I appreciated the intention of the story, I couldn't help but think, “Are they kidding? We are not in some peaceful countryside dotted with windmills. We are in a country under siege - dodging bombs, trying to board overloaded helicopters, bribing officials - all the while thinking, “What happened to our beautiful life?”

That was five years ago. My son is now eight and though we have come to accept that he will always have autism, we no longer feel like citizens of a battle torn nation. With the help of countless dedicated therapists and teachers, biological interventions, and an enormously supportive family, my son has become a fun-loving, affectionate boy with many endearing qualities and skills. In the process we've created… well… our own country, with its own unique traditions and customs.

It’s not a war zone, but it’s still not Holland. Let’s call it Schmolland.

In Schmolland, it is perfectly customary to lick walls, rub cold pieces of metal across your mouth and line up all your toys end to end. You can show affection by giving a “pointy chin.” A “pointy chin” is when you act like you are going to hug someone and just when you are really close, you jam your chin into the other person’s shoulder. For the person giving the “pointy chin” this feels really good, for the receiver not so much – but you get used to it. For citizens of Schmolland, it is quite normal to repeat lines from videos to express emotion.

If you are sad, you can look downcast and say “Oh Pongo.” When mad or anxious, you might shout, “Snow can’t stop me!” or “Duchess, kittens, come on!” Sometimes, “And now our feature presentation” says it all. In Schmolland, there's not a lot to do, so our citizens find amusement wherever they can. Bouncing on the couch for hours, methodically pulling feathers out of down pillows, and laughing hysterically in bed at 4:00am, are all traditional Schmutch pastimes.

The hard part about living in our country is dealing with people from other countries. We try to assimilate ourselves and mimic their customs, but we argent always successful. It’s perfectly understandable that an 8-year-old boy from Schmolland would steal a train from a toddler at the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Table at Barnes and Noble. But this is clearly not understandable or acceptable in other countries, and so we must drag our 8 year old out of the store kicking and screaming while all the customers look on with stark, pitying stares.

But we ignore these looks and focus on the exit sign because we are a proud people. Where we live, it is not surprising when an 8-year-old boy reaches for the fleshy part of a woman’s upper torso and says, “Do we touch boodoo?” We simply say, “No we don't touch boodoo” and go on about our business. It’s a bit more startling in other countries, however, and can cause all sorts of cross-cultural misunderstandings. And, though most foreigners can get a drop of water on their pants and still carry on, this is intolerable to certain citizens in Schmolland who insist that the pants must come off no matter where they are, and regardless of whether another pair of pants are present.

Other families who are affected by autism are familiar and comforting to us, yet are still separate entities. Together we make up a federation of countries, kind of like Scandinavia. Like a person from Denmark talking with a person from Norway, (or in our case someone from Schmenmark talking with someone from Schmorway), we share enough similarities in our language and customs to understand each other, but conversations inevitably highlight the diversity of our traditions.

“Oh your child is a runner? Mine won’t go to the bathroom without asking permission.” “My child eats paper. Yesterday he ate a whole video box.” “My daughter only eats 4 foods, all of them white.” “My son wants to blow on everyone.” “My son can’t stand to hear the word no. We can’t use any negatives at all in our house.” “We finally had to lock up the VCR because my son was obsessed with the rewind button.”

There is one thing we all agree on: we are a growing population.

10 years ago, 1 in 10,000 children had autism.

Today the rate is approximately 1 in 250.

Something is dreadfully wrong. Though the causes of the increase are still being hotly debated, a number of parents and professionals believe genetic pre-disposition has collided with too many environment insults -- toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, vaccines -- to create immunological chaos in the nervous systems of developing children. One medical journalist speculated that these children are like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” here to alert us to the growing dangers in our environment. While this is certainly not a view shared by all in the autism community, it feels true to me.

I hope that researchers discover the magic bullet we all so desperately crave. And I will never stop investigating new treatments and therapies that might help my son. But more and more my priorities are shifting from what “could be” to “what is.” I look around at this country my family has created, with all its unique customs, and it feels like home. For us, any time spent “nation-building” is time well spent.

By Laura Krueger Crawford

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quick post

Just a quick post to say I did it today! My cpap mask broke about 5 a.m. so I wrestled with it for hours, not sleeping much, until about 11 when Phil was awake & could tape it together for me. I finally finished my night's sleep, which meant I lost most my day. Had I not been trying to recover from this sinus junk I would have just been up & dealt with the day. I need to get really well, so needed the sleep. Hoping tomorrow is a tad more productive. It is Girl Scout day which means we leave the house by 1 and don't get home til nearly 5 some days. Then we get ready for co-op on Tuesday.

Now I need to get my teenager into bed so I can do likewise!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ready for Winter---all 2 days of it!

While most of the US and areas north of us are dealing with snow, freezing temps, and heating bills, we've been in shorts and had the air conditioner on some days. Now, don't envy us b/c we do this year round and cooling a house in 105 temps is not any more fun than heating one is -5 temps.

Still, since we are expected to have 2 days of "Winter" (as South Texans know it, at least), I decided that the coats we bought the girls when they were about 6 & 8 were probably not going to work anymore. Considering they are 12 & 14 now. So, off we went to bargain hunt coats. I suppose for most folks a $50 coat is a bargain. On our budget, that's a luxury. We hit Burlington Coat Factory & after sticker shock of their "low prices" we moved on to Wally World. The first Wal-Mart had one Natalie liked but it was too big. So, we did what everyone does at 6 pm on Friday. We got on the busiest highway in town and headed to the busiest intersection in town (281 & 1604 if you are curious) to another Wal-Mart. Thankfully we found a coat for each girl. Poor Natalie really wanted that one style. It turned out they had the coat she liked, but in red, which fit Bethany perfectly. The problem is that these are ladies sizes and Natalie, while fitting nicely into ladies tops, doesn't have the height for a ladies jacket. Let's just say that the hood would have doubled as a blindfold. We found one with a hood that isn't quite big enough for Sasquatch that worked nicely.

Today temps are mild, but next week it will deep below the freezing mark and be in the 40's for a high. We happen to have to be out those days. I know 40 isn't cold to someone living in Wisconsin or Michigan (that would be where some of my dork friends live), but to a Texas gal, it's pretty nippy!

Will try to get pics of the girls in their coats to show you.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Helping a Friend

Have I mentioned that I hate cancer? Once or twice maybe? Well, I do. I do think I mentioned that another friend was diagnosed just a few weeks ago with stage 4 gastric cancer which has also spread to some other areas. Katie's only 39 & has 3 little boys (and one big boy, her dear husband, Kevin). You can read Katie's journey with cancer HERE.

Some other friends have started some ways to help Katie and her family. Rather than reposting all the info, I'm going to direct you to my friend Emily's blog HERE where she has details on how you can help with meals (even if you live far away...wish I'd known about this for my friends Kathy & Linda) and another way to help with digital stamps for those of you who like to do crafts.

Please keep the Renz family in your prayers as they go through this treacherous time. Thank you.

Missed a day!

I guess since I missed a day now I need to post twice today. No problem. I could talk and/or write for a LONG time. LOL!

Yesterday brought a trip to the rheumatologist. I have fibromyalgia so every 4-6 mos. I get to go for a quick visit to the doctor. He wants me to be tested for Vitamin D deficiency. I found that most interesting as my friend Kathy, the one in radiation now for any residual cancer cells, had recently told me that she'd been reading how we are all Vitamin D deficient. However, because I am a dork, I was thinking she'd been telling me this in relation to cancer. When he said this deficiency can cause bone and joint pain the light went on & I remembered, "OH! That's what she said!" LOL! I did see the Vitamin D in the store the other day but those supplements are so pricey that I just went for the immune one. I go for the labwork next week so I'll wait til then & see if I am deficient. I mean Vitamin D deficient. I'm pretty sure I'm deficient in other areas, too!

Afterward I took the girls to Kohl's to use gift cards. Have you ever had a girl age 12 or 14? Have you ever been a girl age 12 or 14? Did you know that girls' bodies change a LOT at that age? Did you know they don't make clothes to really fit girls that age? The clothes makers have decided that somehow you can go from an average or even "plus" size little girl size 14 to a size 1 cut to fit a model with anorexia in the waist but a DD bust and linebacker shoulders. Seriously, the junior sizes are cut SO skinny but have low scoop necks and wide shoulders. For Bethany, my 14 year old who is EXTREMELY underweight (yes, we are working on it & yes, we've seen doctors about it---I was once extremely underweight, but I overcame THAT deficiency), some of the clothes fit okay if she wears another shirt under it (oh, yeah, that's what we like to do in summer in Texas!). At least the waist part fits her well. The shoulders are another issue, as is the low neckline. Natalie is built like a REAL person. She's just exactly at the 50%ile for weight & height. Yet, clothes don't fit well. And she LOVES clothes! How can she be exactly average, but clothes don't fit? Apparently the clothes makers have some strange looking models they use for their designs. I shall HAVE to start sewing for them more often!

They were able to find a few things. Bethany first scoured the blingy jewelry & headbands with bows section. Did you know headbands with bows are in style? I know some people think they look really silly (as in other kids B's age, her sister for example!), but I love the femininity. I love all things bows and flowers and lace. I'd wear them if I didn't look totally ridiculous. They are darling on someone 14, not 45! She ended up getting a cute top and then found some teal colored jeans (she'd been wanting colored jeans) for only $4! They almost fit, too! A size 1, but I'll still need to take up about 3" in the waist. At least they weren't too long. She still has about $6 left on the card, so maybe we'll go back for some jewelry.

Natalie ended up looking in the ladies' section and found a darling top. Unlike her sister, though, she didn't find anything on the clearance rack, so her gift card went lickety split. And, because she is 12 and not a grown up yet, I will have to take up the shoulders about 2-3" so the neckline isn't showing things it shouldn't. We do try to dress modestly. As I've told the girls, "Don't advertise it if it isn't for sale." ; ) Mostly because God wants us to be modest, but the saying gets the point across.

Today we are off to find coats. The last time I bought them coats was 3 or 4 years ago. It just doesn't get that cold that often in Texas. I'm hoping for good clearance prices and for something slightly larger than they are now so it will last a few more years. They both have so many changes to go through yet and will be growing for a few more years at least.

I think I've stopped growing. LOL! I have noticed that although I gained a tremendous amount of weight 4 years ago when I started the gluten free diet, then slowly gained more pounds with meds that cause weight gain and just enjoying gluten free food. GF foods, if made to substitute for regular foods, are high in carbs. Potato flour, rice flour, tapioca get the idea. Plus my body was finally able to absorb what I was eating. Yea me. ha, ha! However, for the past couple of years I've been at about the same weight. It changes by a pound or two now & then, but pretty much the same. That's encouraging to me b/c if I DO---no, WHEN I do start eating healthier and exercising I hopefully will be able to drop some pounds.

I bought a special 2 month membership to Curves. I need to call & check on some things and the rheumatologist said to start slow, but I am really hoping that will kick start my body into becoming healthier. Something has to help!

I asked the rheu. if there was any test or factor that could cause me to have so many auto-immune issues. He said, "I don't see any unifying factor here. You just happen to have a lot of auto-immune problems." And with auto-immunity, I have to be careful as I add immune boosters to my diet b/c your body attacks itself when your immunity is low and somehow (I have no memory of what I read) if you add too much that supports your immune system, your body can work harder to fight that. I am not a doctor or health expert, so I'll have to look all that up again.

Now to get ready for the coat shopping experience. Wish me low prices!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the 5th day of New Year's...

Day 5 and I am still blogging! Today Natalie is feeling better but Phil is still coughing. He's gone to work but has been up coughing at night (thus neither of us sleeping well). My head has been hurting with sinus pain. I just started taking a new herb supplement (when you're taking as many meds as I do you have to & are sick this much ANYTHING is worth trying if it's a safe product to try). Some friends suggested oregano oil & olive leaf extract. I found a supplement with both in them that I could afford.

Last night I dreamed of my dear friend Linda. I dreamed that I had a plant that had been cut down but I was trying to root it. In the dream I was pouring water onto the plant hoping that little roots would soon start growing from it. I thought (in my dream), "Why couldn't we do this for Linda? Why couldn't someone revive her as soon as she passed away?" I tend to have odd dreams. Maybe this is a way of me accepting that she is really gone.

We have only a few days left until our homeschool co-op starts up again. Natalie put off her 50 or 60 pages of homework, plus a book to read, until this week. Actually, we were going to work last week, but got sidetracked by illness. So, here we are (we b/c I generally work with her on these pages) the week before co-op getting her back on target. Reading a book called, "A Single Shard," working on area and perimeter and will need to do some review pages with angles. Middle School geometry!

Hoping anyone who is reading is having a good new year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

But, she had the shot!

This year I had both of my kids get the flu vaccine. Bethany got the mist version & Natalie got the shot (with asthma you can only get the shot, apparently). Phil got his shot since he works in clinics so often (on computers, not people---that would be scary). Mom? Well, I forgot to ever go get mine! Ooooops!

Now, that might not be a big deal since the rest had their shots & would stay well, right? RIGHT? Wrong. Today we went to see the dr. I was sure she had a sinus infection. SURE. S-U-R-E. Dr. B, "Let's do a swab & see if she has the flu." Thinking to self, "Barbara," I've known the dr. for 8 years or so from Pampered Chef, "She had the shot. I'm sure this is an infection." Swab, swab, wait 10 minutes. Play, "Let's think of clothing items beginning with the letter S. Now let's think of names beginning with the letter R." By the way, once Barbara returned to the room, she looked up baby names starting with R when we told her what we were doing. INTERESTING. 10 minutes later she entered the room, "Influenza type A. The shot didn't do diddly squat this time."

Which leads me to ponder, did I have a sinus infection last week? Or was that the flu? Or am I going to get the flu? Is that why I still feel bad? The last time we had the flu in our house was 3 years ago. I know because it was the year Pop Bill (Phil's dad) was so sick & would pass away a month later. The girls stayed with Phil's folks for a few days after Christmas. When we got them, Bethany was sick. Turned out she had strep throat. Natalie got it. The next week they had the flu. Seriously, how do you end up with BOTH the worst URI type things (short of pneumonia, I guess) in a week's time? I suppose we picked up the germs at the dr.'s office.

So, here I am with an aching head hoping this is still JUST from the sinus infection and cedar pollen in the air. Hoping and praying. Now Phil is coughing & sneezing. He said, "I feel bad but not bad enough to stay home."

Now if someone could just come over & change my sheets and take care of my house for me. But then you'd all be sick. Didn't I ask someone this already? Oh, the mind is a terrible thing to waste. ; )

Monday, January 3, 2011

Off to the doctor

Well, it looks like we'll be taking a little trip to the doctor in the morning to see what is wrong with Miss Natalie. We'll find out if she had the flu. I hope not since I did NOT get my flu shot. I think it's a sinus infection.

Today Bethany asked an interesting question, "If you pour a LOT of oil on a little candle (lit) will it burn or put out the flame?" I told her I didn't know but I wouldn't be the one to find out! She won't either. She has hated fire & flames since she was little. We just watched some home videos of her at her 3rd b-day & she was scared of the candle. To this day she will not eat cake if it's from the part where the candle was. She says it all tastes like wax. I remember as a little girl loving to eat the icing off the candles! Then again, I also liked those tiny wax bottles with liquid sugar inside that you would suck out then chew the bottles.

I'm still not well, but I am not AS sick as I was last week. That was no fun at all.

There are clothes to be washed before the morning, but I wanted to try to keep this record going of every day blogging.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2nd---I've made it 2 days!

Before the clock strikes 12 I thought I'd pop in to say I've now blogged on here for 2 days this year. 2 days in a row, even! Goodness, at this rate, I may be the next Pioneer Woman with a famous blog. Oh, wait, I forgot, she started with a wealthy rancher husband and can do all kinds of cool giveaways. Hmmmm, I could giveaway some used cookbooks. Oh, even better, some unwanted pounds! So, maybe I won't be the next Pioneer Woman. I'll enjoy reading her blog & trying to win things, though.

Last weekend (Christmas weekend) Natalie & I felt pretty yucky. We went to the doctors on Tuesday. My dr. said I was on the verge of a sinus infection & gave me some heavy duty new antibiotic. I felt horrible the next day, but by Friday I was feeling so much better. Today I have felt icky again, but I am on the mend.

The pediatrician (who happens to be a friend of mine) checked both girls (since B. was starting to feel icky, too) and said they weren't infected & lungs sounded good (Nat has had a time with her asthma the past few months), but gave us some potent cough syrup. They both seemed to improve until last night when Natalie went downhill fast. She woke me up at 5 a.m. with a fever and spent the rest of the day on the couch, taking ibuprofen to help her feel a bit better. I'll call Dr. Barbara back tomorrow & see if she wants to add anything.

Meanwhile, Phil seems to have developed a mega resistance system, which is really nice. I'm guessing that being in & out of clinics all the time exposes him to so much that his body has built up a good immunity. Never worked for me teaching kids who seemed to get sick all the time, but I have all sorts of auto-immune issues. He's been off the past week and has to go back to work tomorrow. He's NOT the work-aholic type. At all. Well, not in the "job" sense. He can obsess over certain things (like a computer problem that just doesn't want to resolve or working on a motorcycle engine) til the cows come home. Getting up early for work? Not his thing.

So, that's 2 days into the New Year. So far no one I know has been diagnosed with cancer THIS year. I do have a friend who was recently diagnosed from last year. So far we've paid bills (well, when the landlord is back in town & we give him the rent check, that will be true). So far, we have money in the plus side in the bank. So far, all of our living parents are doing well. So far, 2011 looks like a GREAT year!

Hope to be back on the 3rd!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year's 2012! OOOOPS, 2011

Well, I obviously have not improved my typing skills yet this year. I did type 2012 as the year! Phew, this one went by fast, didn't it? LOL!

I'm going to try to post more this year. I so love writing & this is a good therapy for me. My dad wondered why I started a blog in the beginning & who would read it. Now he has fussed at me for NOT posting, so Dad, this is for you!

Speaking of my dad, he turned 76 yesterday. Happy Birthday! As I said at the table today, it's like being a kid again where you look forward to birthdays. Except now we celebrate each year (and day) we still have them with us.

For anyone out there who might possibly still be reading or checking into my blog, I will say in short that 2010 was a very sad year. 2 of my friends were diagnosed with cancer. My friend Kathy had a mastectomy in May and spent the entire summer & fall at, as she puts it, "Camp Chemo." She is now undergoing radiation. We are trusting that there is not one single cancer cell left in her body.

Sadly, my friend Linda's story is different. She was diagnosed in early May and had a hysterectomy. Unfortunately, the doctor did not remove all of the cancerous lymph nodes. He told her that he hoped that chemo would diminish these nodes. She did so well through the first several treatments, and physically, did well for the last few as well. However, in the midst of chemo, her mom, who had been practically living with Linda and her family, passed away of a very unexpected illness. 2 days after Linda finished her final chemo treatment, she collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. She spent the next 5 1/2 weeks there, then on December 1st her body could not continue to function and she went home to be with the Lord.

So often I find myself not believing it is real. I believe she will pick up the phone & call me. I believe she is going to be at her house when I go there. And now as we start selling Girl Scout cookies again, I am waiting for her e-mails telling us all the dates and times we need to know. She was the cookie mom for the past 3 or 4 years. When I do fully understand that she is gone my heart aches. My heart aches not for Linda. Linda grew so close to the Lord in the last few months of her life. No, it is her family for whom my heart aches. Her beloved daughter and husband. Her precious daughter lost the 2 most important women in her life this year. Her dear husband spent so much of his time just caring for his family over the past several months. Now they are beginning a new life this new year. I know God will give them, and us, grace for each new day, but the empty spot still leaves us aching.

One thing that has not changed at all is that I am still very much mom and I believe I am being called to duty this instant.

Until next time!