Wednesday, December 29, 2010

seizure free & loving it

 We got to go to Indy!  I was so afraid of having to cancel because of illness...but Suzy improved through the day last Sunday, so we hit the road.  I will let the pictures tell the highlights of the trip we made. 

Of course the reason for the trip was to go to Jack's neurologist appointment.  Everything looks good for him, and our Dr. had encouraging things to say.  Dr. McGuire is a such a genuine & sincere doctor.  She loves her job and kids, you can tell that by how she interacts with Jack and our other kids.  I love her sense of humor and her down to earth personality.  She told us that statistics show when kids like Jack who have a normal MRI (meaning no masses or cysts on the brain) but an abnormal EEG is abnormal (meaning a tendency towards seizures -with no explanation of why they happen) Usually there is a 50%-60% chance that the child will outgrow them.  She also encouraged us by telling us when the seizure happens in the front of the brain, like Jack's~ there is a better chance of outgrowing then.  Also his prognoses is good, because he does well at being seizure free on only one medicine and on a low dose of the medicine he takes.  All things that remind me how much I have to be thankful for.  He has been seizure free for 10 months!  Praise God!  So for right now he will stay on his current dosage and re-visit the neurologist in 6 months.  Jack will need to be seizure free for 2 years before the Dr. will take him off of medicine.  So very much to be thankful for this Christmas season.  My heart is completely full, for healthy children that are asleep in their beds tonight and seizures that are a distant memory.  

While in Indy at Cracker Barrel for breakfast...
William: "Are we going to pray?  I know it's going to be embarrassing but we gotta do it."
Donovan: "William it's not embarrassing.  This is a Christian nation, lots of people pray."
William: "o.k. well let's do it."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

the best-laid plans

Forgot to mention in last nights post, that we had to cancel our plans yesterday to go to Chicago ON THE train, with friends.  A huge disappointment for all of us.  So since everyone was on the mend last night....after all we had went 36 hours with no throwing up.  We booked a hotel for Indy for Sunday night.  Planning to make a day of it, starting with some huge celebrating and going to make a little stop in Ft. Wayne to see a new baby that was born last night.  Our friends and cousins who have waited 14 years to experience the miracle of birth.  After 3 adoptions, Kevin and Sherri have 1 boy and 2 girls, now God has blessed with a new baby boy.  A true God thing!  After going to visit them, we had planned to go to breakfast and then head to Indy.  We had planned to do some fun things there and then the next day going to the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital for Jack's scheduled 6 month Neurology appointment.  However~We have been up with Suzy almost every single hour.  Throwing up.  The rude awakening at 1:00, by vomit noises coming from the upstairs, her sister calling for us.  Cleaning her up, the bedding up, everything, laying in bed wondering what now?  Our bags are all packed, baby gifts waiting by the door, the hotel is booked for tonight.  Hearing the washer click that it's done with one load and thinking I might as well go and start the next load.  Thinking, thinking, thinking.  Only to hear my little one starting the cycle all over in the nest beside my bed.  So we start the bath, to wash the vomit out of her hair once again, Donovan cleaning up the bedding, and almost falling into perfect rhythm at 1:30 a.m.  Him cleaning up the aftermath on carpet and bedding, me cleaning the child.  Yes, ladies and gentleman....only 30 minutes after the first episode.  Getting back to bed at it happening all over at 3:30.  Learning at least ~to put her blonde curly hair in a pony tail so that I don't have to wash her hair once again.  Up again at 5:30 and after that it's a blur.  I quit looking at the clock. She has probably thrown up 10-12 times.  Disappointment has set in, and all though I'm trying to remind myself it could be worse, I'm discouraged.  Wondering what to do.  We really need to have Jack at his appointment and really can't think of anything worse than cleaning puke out of our mini van.  O.k. it could be worse to have a child throw up in a public place on carpet.  That would be worse.  Or maybe at a restaurant on carpet, with lots of people watching and trying to eat their breakfast.  That would totally be worse.

Bless Suzy's heart she has been such a trouper.  For 4 years old she sure has been brave.  No crying.  And even trying to help me clean up her vomit at 1:30 a.m. on our bathroom tile.  Thank you Jesus it was on tile. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

news and notes

 Just some randomness for your Saturday evening enjoyment.....

 Last night I made pizza~and I have to say it was better than any delivery or otherwise.  I got the recipe from my friend Jen, and when I started this supper I was worried it wouldn't be as good as hers.  But it was!  Loved it.  We were trying to cheer ourselves up since we had to stay home with a sick boy and miss our Christmas Party with our age group from church.  Did I mention my sister was planning on coming to spend the night so we could stay out as late as we wanted??  Anyways....I didn't get supper in the oven until a little late in the evening, & I cracked up at William's anticipation of our meal.  {See above photo.}  We let him and Isabella put their own toppings on, which only added to his enthusiasm of it!  While Jack was busy on the couch with the flu and Suzy was playing with dolls.
Here is the recipe......

Jen's Pizza Dough
1 T. yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water
1 T. sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. oil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let set for 5-10 min.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Knead for 5 min. and let rise until double.  Spray pizza pan with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cornmeal.  Roll out (with rolling pin) and place on pizza pan.  Let rise 15-20 minutes.  Pre-bake at 400 for 7-10 min. Top with desired toppings and finish baking until done.  

 In other news and notes...hubby spent today doing this.  Something I've been whining suggesting for about for a year to have done.  An outlet in our kitchen island.  Now I can flip pancakes with out actually leaving my seat at breakfast, & free up some counter space when I've got a crock pot brewing.  Ahhh...the things that bring me joy.  Disturbing I realize. 

And I spent the day doing this.  For a friend.  Actually the one who makes the awesome pizza.  :)
Also finished up buying & wrapping Christmas gifts with the help of Isabella.  And now I shall fall into bed into a deep sleep ~appreciating the fact that no one has thrown up for a good 36 hours now.    

pain in my cheeks

 This past Wednesday night our small group went out to The Bonefish Grill for a Christmas dinner. We missed 3 who couldn't make it....but tried to still have fun :)  I love this group so much!
 I wasn't sure who Norm liked hugging more...his wife or....
 Jake???  But I do love Carol's laugh and looking at the left side of this picture you can almost hear that laughter.
 There is Al and his little smirk at the end of the table.  Jason proved to be very difficult as usual when it came to picture taking.  Nothing of him besides the back of his head. If you notice the group picture, he did the same exact thing.  When I want to take a picture he turns.  Sorry Rose, I'm not sure how to get a cute couple  picture, when your other 1/2 keeps messing around.  Maybe I can borrow one of your pics??
 Ed and Julie.  What can I say??? His refusal to cooperate and smile for this just typical.  However he did give Julie and I a great belly laugh when he displayed his new boots up on the table, Donovan noticing his new pants and then him proceding to get a great rise out of us all.
pain in my cheeks from laughing so hard and a great belly laugh.  It made my night complete.  

 Yummy food, sweet friends, and my favorite time of year.  I love you small group.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

clean & dry

 After 10 years of laundry with kids, I think I have something figured out what works at least for our family. I wanted to show you my system, in hopes to make this daily, never ending chore maybe a little easier. 

I have a darks and lights basket.  This is sorting right from the git go.  The kids are doing it.  We have a laundry basket in the girls room and ours~that needs to be brought over to the laundry room, but all others come in the laundry to sort their own.  When the basket is full...I know that's a load.  After it's washed and dried.  I have a basket where all socks, hand-towels, washcloth's, & underwear go into. Which is more than 1/2 of our loads.  That basket waits by the washer for children to come home from school.  I have learned not to be so picky with nice and tidy stacks.  This was hard to let go of at first.  In the beginning I had eager helpers, who felt validated, cheerful and excited to help.  After a while~it becomes a chore and sloppy sets in.  I think there is a big difference between sloppy and "I'm doing the best I can" kinda thing.  Attitude is a huge part.  So right now Suzy sorts socks, can fold them and put them into cubbies.  Sometimes I have William work on that and fold wash cloths but not often.  Isabella does the rest of the folding.  Although I really should be teaching the boys to do this independently.  They require far more patience on mama lets move on. 

I might add that we pay for this chore.  Not all chores are paid on to have them done.  Some jobs the kids do because they are part of the family. period.  Some things we pay for~when done with a good attitude.  Bad tude-no pay.  This was Isabella's basket today before she got home to fold it.  I usually give 25 cents a load.  But wow~this was 2 loads and was full and running over with socks.  I had her do it all, because the other kids were working on other chores, and paid her $1.  Don't tell her but I think this is a steal.   

O.k. So there's the laundry that the Isabella and Suzy can sort and fold then I do the bigger things like jeans and bath towels.  Every family member has a cubbie and I put the persons laundry right into their slot.  The towels go up on the shelf until I'm going that direction.  I used to set folded items on the washer and that would really cramp my style when folding on top of the washer & Donovan made the shelf that you see on the above picture.  Have loved it!  The basket on the top of the washer is tomorrow's laundry for Isabella :) I literally spend about 10 minutes total on laundry per day which is amazing!  I would encourage you if you have younger kids...start small. Like this week you can teach folding socks.  When that becomes a breeze add wash cloths, etc.  I started young with Isabella and she enjoyed getting privileges (like watching a movie, etc.) after her "job" was done.

 The top shelves on the left and right are clothes that the kids have outgrown waiting for me to take the piles down to basement storage or to the resale.  Then it's 6 cubicles for each member of our tribe, one cubical with a basket for mis-matched socks, one for extra boxes of Kleenex and paper towels, storage for clothespins and bleach, and the last cubical with the bucket is for trash.  Donovan built these shelves about 5 years ago, but if you are limited on space or handyman capabilities you could easy use a plastic version or storage crates. 

 I take the shirts and usually put them over the ironing board if they are dry.  That is Jack's job to hang them up.  But today's laundry shirts all went on hangers to dry or on the drying rack.

 And then there is a handy closet that is in the laundry room that has a girl section, one for the boys, and on the top and to the right is me and Donovan's clothes.  Clean, dry and ready to take to the rooms.  This usually happens when it's jammed pack and there is no more room.  I also wait until the kids are home from school to do this.  If you do not have a closet in the laundry I think a free standing rack would be a great addition to a laundry room.  
O.k. So the last part of the post was done while in and out of the bathroom, bedroom, and (shock) the laundry room.  So I hope it made sense.  William was projectile vomiting, as in--- the walls, top bunk, sheets, & comforter all had to be washed.  SICK!  He now is in a little floor nest on our floor, in our room.  Had no idea he was sick.  He said his tummy hurt before bed, but that's a given in our family when it rolls around to 7:30/8:00.  It translates to "I really want to stay up and snuggle so I'm just going to have a tummy ache"  which doesn't work...I'm not sure why they keep trying that line.  I guess this time he wasn't crying wolf! :(  Kinda makes me feel bad for making him finish his supper.  Sure hope he doesn't "toss the poor mans steak" on my carpet next.   

Quote of the day:
Suzy last night at supper.  She was pointing to the pop bottle and asking what the words said.  We read "Caffeine Free Diet Coke".
Suzy: "Dad, Can I have some more caffeine?"
Donovan: "yes."
Suzy: "Because it is free!"

do you smell what i smell?

 I found this recipe in a magazine for "Christmas Scent"  And I must say I do love it.  So when the kids constantly say they are hungry especially my youngest I tell them they can have a clementine.  I have them peel it right into the pan. 

Here is the recipe....
5 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs. cloves
1 Tbs. allspice
2 rinds of orange
3 bay leaves

Simmer on stove.  Mmmm...I smell Christmas coming.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

another book I love

 I don't know if you've heard about this book....but I know the author and the subject matter of the book personality, So I bought it.  It is a very adorable and sweet story.  Lynette wrote the book about her brother Marlin Stutzman. I went to school with them, for a short time to church with them, and enjoyed spending time at their family farm.  The book is a great book to read to your little ones.  In Lynette's words, "A great way to remind parents and children the importance of loving and respecting your siblings.  It also encourages kids to dream about what they will be when they grow up."  I couldn't agree with her more.  Even if you don't know the Stutzman's, you will enjoy this book and it's humor.  

 And today they had a book signing in Shipshewana.  So cool to reconnect with them both.  It's been years since I've seen Marlin and have only been in contact with Lynette through the great facebook world.  So here we are in real live person.  Nothing has changed with Marlin.  Even being a senator and all....he is still a sweet brother-like friend.  Enjoyed a nice chat with him, learning more about his family and the time they will split between Washington and Indiana.  And Lynette ~even being a published author and still a fun loving,  energetic, and easy to make laugh kinda gal.  :)  (I love her laugh!)  

 Donovan wanted a whole family shot~Since he is super supportive of Mr. Stutzman.  We both are~we love his values, we love what he stands for.  We love that he started his life like many of us and worked hard to get where he is now, doing what he is passionate about.  You can read more about Marlin here.  So proud of both of these Stutzman "kids".

 Even got my copy of the book personally signed. 
And not sure if you can read what Lynette wrote~but let me quote it up for you....."I love Livin' the Dream"  for that shout out....I've got this one right back for you.

  Here is were you can buy the book.  :)