Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Update on My Dad

My good friend Melanie asked about my dad, so I thought I should post an update.

He is home from the hospital, and he sounds good to me. I talked to him on the phone last night for a good long while, and he seems like he is in good spirits. You can't keep a good man down, apparently, because he actually went back to work! He's not supposed to drive yet, but he says he felt good, alert, and safe. I trust his judgment on that.

The doctors never figured out exactly what happened. It wasn't a stroke or TIA. His EEG came back normal, too.

They did find that he has sleep apnea, so they're going to do a sleep study with another EEG while he's asleep to see if that gives any more info.

Praise the Lord he came through this experience okay. The mysterious part though, is that the doctors can't figure out what caused it, and there's no guarantee that it won't happen again.

Praise the Lord also for EXCELLENT medical care and insurance. All my family is truly blessed to have good insurance, something that many Americans simply don't have. We don't take that blessing for granted.

It's Your Birthday? For Real?

My 2 year old son has been telling EVERYONE "Happy Birthday!" the past few weeks. The trouble is, no one in our family has had a birthday recently, so we don't know where he picked it up. It's cute, though, so we play along.

But today actually is our daughter's 18th birthday (YIKES!)

This morning I told her a hearty "Happy Birthday!" She replied "Thank you!"

My son promptly said, "No, today's not your birthday!"

"Yes, it is!"

"No, it's not your birthday." He answered with such an air of authority, we couldn't argue with him. The crazy kid!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Every Kid in America?

I copied and pasted this very short article from this site:

(HealthDay News) -- Many people define attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as the inability to stay focused and the tendency to wander in thought and action. Impulsive behavior may be another prime symptom of ADHD.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says common signs of impulsive behavior in children with ADHD may include:
  • Acting or speaking out without thinking.
  • Darting into the street without stopping to look at traffic.
  • Difficulty taking turns.
  • Difficulty waiting patiently.
  • Shouting out an answer before the questioner is finished.
  • Interrupting others.
Well, I guess my kids are ADHD, because I have to TEACH them not run into the street. I have to TEACH them to take turns, wait patiently, and not to interrupt. I would dare say this applies to almost every kid in America!

They are immature little people, who need to be TAUGHT how to act civilly and safely in society. I would be a terribly neglectful parent if I didn't TEACH these skills to my children.

I suppose that I could just give them a dangerous drug with serious side effects instead of mothering and guiding them. Or heaven forbid, I try to give them interesting, thought-provoking activities that stimulate them to grow and think for themselves! 

I copied the following safety information about Ritalin's side effects from:

Do not take Ritalin if you have used an MAO inhibitor ... Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you use Ritalin before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body. Do not use Ritalin if you are allergic to methylphenidate or if you have:
  • glaucoma;
  • overactive thyroid;
  • severe high blood pressure;
  • angina (chest pain), heart failure, heart rhythm disorder, or recent heart attack;
  • a personal or family history of tics (muscle twitches) or Tourette's syndrome;
  • severe anxiety, tension, or agitation (methylphenidate can make these symptoms worse); or
  • a hereditary condition such as fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption, or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency.
Some stimulants have caused sudden death in children and adolescents with serious heart problems or congenital heart defects. Tell your doctor if you have a congenital heart defect. If you have any of these other conditions, your doctor may need to adjust the dose of Ritalin or order special tests:
  • a congenital heart defect;
  • a personal or family history of mental illness, psychotic disorder, bipolar illness, depression, or suicide attempt;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
 It is not known whether Ritalin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. It is not known whether methylphenidate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Ritalin without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Long-term use of Ritalin can slow a child's growth. Tell your doctor if the child using this medication is not growing or gaining weight properly.
Well, maybe I'm old-fashioned or I have my head in the clouds, but I would be HIGHLY wary of putting this chemical down my kids' throats. Yet, school nurses are (at the direction of students' parents and physicians) dispensing these drugs like candy in our schools.

According to :

"The United Nations released a report in February of 1996 expressing concern over the discovery that 10 percent to 12 percent of all male school children in the United States currently take the drug [Ritalin], a rate far surpassing that in any other country in the world. Indeed, citizens of the United States, most of them well below the legal drinking or smoking age, now consume over 90 percent of the 8.5 tons of methylphenidate produced worldwide each year."

I have been a sub for an elementary school nurse a few times when I was working. Because I was not licensed to handle Class 3 drugs, the school nurse from the neighboring middle school had to come over at lunch time to dispense the drugs to the ADHD kids. I was merely there to take temps, apply band-aids, and call parents to pick up sick kids. And there were SEVERAL who took these drugs.

Honey offered the following thought, I don't know if there is any truth to it or not, but it got me thinking: "The American Academy of Pediatrics is only putting forth these guidelines for impulsivity because the pharmaceutical companies have told them so." I don't know if I completely agree with that notion, but it does make me wonder how closely tied the AAP is to the drug industry. I don't think that would be an easy statistic to find on the Internet, though, and I need to wrap up this post anyway. My kids will be disassembling the furniture, taking boot laces out of Honey's boots for the fourth time today, getting into the dog food, and figuring out new places in their bodies to stick a Q-tip. I could either take them to a doc for a magic "behave" pill, or I could do what I'm going to do--get away from what "I" want to do and be the mother they need me to be.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please Pray for my Dad

I just received the following e-mail from my mom. Please pray, and forward it to other prayer warriors you might know. Thanks.
Now don't get panicky, but daddy is in the hospital.  On Friday night about 10:00, he got up and kind of stumbled over toward our bathroom and was making some very odd, unintelligible sounds, I was asking him what was wrong, but he couldn't respond.  It was still dark in the bedroom, but I was able to get him turned around and back to sit on the edge of the bed.  All the while, I was very afraid that his knees would buckle and he would go down to the floor.  After sitting him on the bed, I turned on the light and I swear it looked like he was having a stroke.  He wasn't able to form coherent words although he could smile somewhat.  I quickly called 911 and they asked if he could smile and if he could recite a sentence they told me (but I don't remember what that sentence was).  By the time the ambulance was on the way, he was coming around and although he could speak, his words were slurred and the left side of his face was kind of droopy.  The EMT's took him by ambulance to the hospital and I drove behind praying and praying.  When we got to the hospital, they did quite a few tests and finally about 6:00 Saturday a.m. they finally admitted him.  By that time, he was almost all the way back to normal.  It was all very scary and stressful (which those words cannot adequately describe).
They have ruled out stroke and TIA and think it could have been a seizure caused by a cavernoma that he has on his brain (but we have known about this since 2009).  He had an MRI last night and the cavernoma has not changed so that might not be it after all.  They will be doing an EEG tomorrow and maybe will know more after that.  All of his other tests are coming back normal-of which we are thankful, but that doesn't explain the episode.  They have put him on some anti-seizure meds as a precaution for now and he is constantly hooked up to fluids and monitors. 
If you want to call him, he has his cell phone with him and I am sure he would be happy to hear from you.  Please text him first, though, because they may be running tests or he might be sleeping.
Thank you for any prayers you may offer up.  They doctors and nurses need divine guidance on the diagnosis of this one.  Also, daddy needs your prayers too.  He is feeling back to normal (as normal as you can feel while in the hospital) and wants to come home-and we want him to come home as well. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

We took our first real road-trip since the boys have been born. We drove FAR AWAY to another state to spend Thanksgiving with Honey's Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, and Cousin's
Daughter. We also got to meet Cousin's new Girlfriend and her Daughter. LOVE THEM!!

My Daughter got to meet her second cousin, who is 12. Such a sweet girl, and Daughter made a bunch of neat Christmas ornaments with her. They took regular glass bobbles and decorated them with glittler, feathers, and ribbons. Daughter took one home for us, and Cousin will give the rest away as gifts. Cousin also took the boys on her scooter and told them nap-time stories. She is definitely a creative, imaginitive gal!

The boys did about as well as I'd hoped. They weren't over the top well-behaved, mostly because they weren't at home where they know the rules, they were fed all kinds of junk food as bribes (totally my fault, I admit it), and overly tired from too much playtime with cousins and dogs. (Aunt and Uncle have a MASSIVE, 110-lb. long-haired German Shepherd named Samson, and Cousin has a super-cute boxer puppy named Dusty.)

The boys weren't over the top rotten, either, which was a blessing. I was super-worried that something in Aunt and Uncle's not-so-childproof house would be shattered, but thank the Lord, not one thing was broken!! (Breakables were definitely moved up out of little hands' reach when temptation struck, though.) We were also blessed to be able to play in the backyard and a neighborhood park when the weather was nice.

We stuffed our tummies at the Thanksgiving meal. We ate turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, peas and carrots, cranberry sauce, raspberry sauce, gravy, two kinds of mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing, and I'm sure I've forgotten something. Two kinds of pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple crumb pie, sugar cookies, white chocolate cranberry cookies, and two kinds of ice cream for dessert. (Drooling at the yummy memories...)

We're planning an even longer road trip to visit my parents for Christmas. This trip was a great test run for the upcoming adventure next month. I've already learned that I'll need:

1. More toys for the trip. New toys for the trip there are great, but they're not "new" anymore for the trip home. Gotta get toys specifically for that.

2. Extra plastic grocery bags up in the van (not in the suitcases) for trash, which seems to breed in my van, and for the not-so-pleasant car sickness which sometimes overcomes small children.

3. Bring more Baby Einstein videos, which are the baby's favorite. Word World is my older son's favorite, and I forgot to bring that disc for him. (Side note confession: I used to really look down on the families who let their kids watch TV on road trips. Having two "normal" kids has really humbled me, and now my motto is "Do what works." Videos loaded into Daughter's laptop and set on a box in front of the boys' car seats work wonders! Someday maybe we'll be able to afford a "real" video system in our van, but for now the "redneck" variety suits us fine.)

4.Bring a roll of paper towels. Napkins just didn't cut the mess my family made!

5. Retractable sun shades that stick to the van's windows. It seemed like the sun was in the boys' eyes the whole way home. We've had some in the past, but little hands pried them off so much that they lost their suction power. Maybe this time we'll try the stick-on adhesive kind.

How did you spend Thanksgiving? Did you cook? Travel? Chill out? What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions or memories?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Bacon Incident

This morning I woke up early and couldn't fall back to sleep. So I got up, did a devo, then decided to make some bacon for breakfast.

I thawed a pound of bacon from the freezer and preheated my oven (I bake my bacon on a roasting pan with holes in it for the drippings.)

I can never fit a whole pound of bacon on my pan, so I always put on what I can, then do another batch when the first batch is done.

I cooked the bacon, divvied it up among the family, and realized it wasn't as much as usual. I decided we were just pigs (no pun intended), and just served what I had.

A while later, Honey was walking through the house spraying air freshener all over, saying the house stunk. I thought he was crazy, but the cheap-o coffee we bought recently does have an "off" smell to it. (note to self: you get what you pay for with coffee, stick with the national brands from now on.)

About 20 minutes after that, I realized that I forgot to turn off my oven, so I turned it off. I often do that, shame on me!

When I was almost done cleaning my kitchen, I realized I hadn't yet washed the bacon pan. I couldn't find it!

It was still in the oven, with 5 pieces of totally black, burned-to-a-char bacon on it!

I finally realized why Honey was air-freshener happy--he thought the house smelled like burning bacon, which I inadvertenly thought smelled like yucky coffee. Also, that's why we didn't have enough bacon to satisfy the family--five pieces were still in the oven, forgotten by air-headed me! (At least I had enough sense to turn off the oven, thank the Lord!)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I was inspired by Brittney at Baseballs and Bows to do a "Thankful Thursday" post. So, in keeping with the hymn's lyrics, "Count your blessings, name them one by one..." Here is a quick taste of what I'm especially thankful for today:

1. Our double stroller. We have this stroller, which is actually a bike trailer:

It's great to put both the boys in it, put down the rain flap if it's windy, and just go for a walk. We went for a walk this morning, in fact! If we walk at night, we give the boys flashlights or chemlights to hold. That keeps it interesting for them.

2. My gi-normous back yard. My kids LOVE to play outside. We can wander out there all day if the weather's nice. This year we planted blueberry bushes and a fig tree. The birds got the blueberries (note to self: get some bird-proof netting next year), but we got about 5 figs, which is fine for such a young tree.

3. Headbands. I don't get a shower until the boys are in bed at night, so I usually go to bed with damp hair. That makes for some SERIOUS pillow hair each morning! Until I can get to the bathroom sink to wet it back down and style it right, I pull it back in a headband. Pillow hair, bad...Headbands, good.

4. A Honey who can go to school full-time without needing to work on the side (for the time being). It's really great to know that our two youngest have so much time with him. They don't realize how blessed they are to have so much Daddy-time! When the time comes that Honey will need to get a job, they're going to have some seriously rough adjustments.

5. Good neighbors. One set of neighbors helped us fix our fence a few years ago after a tornado. They didn't have to help us, they just did. Another neighbor throws milk-bones to Stella, our dog. (Sometimes I think Stella loves her more than us, LOL!) The neighbor across the street feeds us from his garden. The boys love to go to his house to watch his aquarium and mooch chocolates from his candy dish. We housesit for him when he's out of town, and he'll do the same for us later this year. The neighbor two houses down offered to put the baby crib together for me when Honey was in Afghanistan and I was waddling around, obviously cranky and pregnant.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Daughter, the Prankster

Daughter's cross country team played a funny prank on their coach for the end of the season. They filled his car with balloons! How great (and harmless, thankfully) is that?!

I won't let her participate in the "senior prank" that traditionally takes place at the end of the school year. Usually it gets out of hand and becomes destructive. But it was fun for her to play this little joke, and her coach actually thought it was hilarious.

This is my girl (far right) and a few of her teammates before they ran at the state championship last weekend:

Howdy, Pardner!

Last night was "Cowboys and Indians" night at AWANAs. My little guy dressed up like the town sheriff:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Gem of Wisdom

A good friend of ours, Brother Willie, said something several years ago that I've always remembered. It has been on my mind:

"As long as you obey God, He is responsible for the consequences."

So simple, yet profound.

If we are following God's ways and doing what we are supposed to be doing, God will keep His promises to us.

The converse is also true. If we choose to do our own thing, then we leave the umbrella of God's protection. We're on our own!

Friday, November 4, 2011

College Statistics

I mentioned in earlier posts that Honey is struggling with his statistics class. So the boys and I have been faithfully praying that he will start to understand it and do better on his tests.

He earned an 84% on his last exam! Yay!

I never took college statistics, so I am no help to him. But here is a Wikipedia page with some of the "stuff" he's doing...Scary!

Statistical Hypothesis Testing

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No, No! Not Yet!

Our local soft rock radio station switches to a Christmas format every year. The first few years we lived here, it was nice. But now....not so much. It's the same 20 songs year after year after year. Over and over and nauseum. If I have to hear George Michael sing "Last Christmas" one more time, I think I'll spew.

They started the Christmas format on November 1st. Isn't that a bit early??

Do you ever feel like we move straight from Halloween to Christmas, leaving poor Thanksgiving out of the loop? I kind of feel sorry for Thanksgiving lately. Our local Wal-Mart put out their Christmas decorations right after Labor Day! No Thanksgiving or "Happy Fall" decorations. Just cheap plastic Christmas trees and jack o'lanterns.

Poor Thanksgiving. We've even given it the nickname "Turkey Day", forgetting why we ever celebrated it in the first place.

I thought about writing a "Why I'm Thankful" list this year, but it would be way too long. When I think about my Savior, home, health, family, friends, provisions, mind, etc. I could go on forever!

Let's not forget about Thanksgiving this year. No, I don't mean eating turkey and cranberry sauce until we're bloated. I mean let's not forget about Giving Thanks Day. We've got too much to be thankful for to take it all for granted!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Forgiving Inappropriate Remarks

Let me preface this post by confessing up front that I've said MORE than my fair share of harsh remarks to people, most of them unintentional. Words leave a wicked path of destruction if used as weapons.

But there is an older lady at my church who just doesn't know how to shut up. I feel sorry for her, she's alone in the world, and she has a very abrasive personality. When I see her coming to say "hello" to me, I try to dodge away. I know that's mean, but this is the only conversation we ever have with each other:

Her: "Hi, how are those babies doing?"
Me: "Oh they're fine, thank you. They're in the nursery right now."
Her: "They are so handsome."
Me: "Thank you!"

It always starts out pleasant enough. Then, here's the deal-breaker for me...
Her: "When are you going to have more?"

I've told her at every one of these conversations that we are done having babies.  But I try to politely reply (again)...
Me: "Oh, we're done. No more for us."

But she doesn't stop! Here's where I need to REALLY bite my tongue...
Her: "But you need to try for a little girl."

The first time she said this, I was shocked!
Me: "I HAVE a girl!"
Her: "You know what I mean. A BABY girl."

Grrrrrrrr. My daughter will ALWAYS be my "baby girl" even when she is married and has a family of her own. Now that she is practically grown up doesn't make her less desirable to me, so that I feel the need to conceive another one. How rude of her to suggest such a thing!

I'm afraid that I will lose my temper with her if she says it again, and that I'll be hurtful to her. And most of you know how protective (and loud) a "mother bear" can be when it comes to matters of the family! So I have been "practicing" responses to her:

1. That's sweet of you to say, but my daughter will always be "my baby", no matter how old she is.

2. My daughter has blossomed into a wonderful young woman that I'm proud to know. I don't feel the need to "have another one".

3. I already had a "baby girl." I'm sorry we didn't know you when she was younger.

The flip side of this whole thing is that I wonder how many times I've said something annoying/hurtful/insensitive/abrasive to someone who didn't lovingly correct me. They've held their hurt inside without letting me know. I've never had the chance to apologize, because I don't even know that I've been rude in the first place!