Monday, June 30, 2008
God is merciful and my friend, Fr. Shawn, called in the middle of all this. He recommended Tecnu. Miracle! You have to have this. We washed the affected areas, rinsed with cold water and the rash was practically gone. A dose of Benadryl and Tecnu, problem solved. We did need to repeat the wash and rinse this morning, since we missed a few spots last night. Or its in her hair.
But no calamine needed and no agonizing itch. I highly recommend this Simple Solution: Tecnu!
I've thought about it and the ellipses don't bother me so much. However, after my reflection, I realized I use the word "so" way too much. That's my pledge, to stop using so, well, so much. I'm not a valley girl and I own a thesaurus. I can do better!
But do not let this spoil your afternoon. Second step, sop up as much soda as you can. Then proceed with your movie. Now relaxed and refreshed, tackle the kitchen in earnest. I choose the bottom up plan. The floors are clear and a Swiffer Wet is simple enough.
Once the floors are finished, use Endust to polish all the cabinet doors. Next, the hardest part is the countertops. Only because every single dish, appliance and knick-knack must be washed. Windex is my favorite for countertops, toaster oven and sink. Everything is sparkling. I also used this opportunity to remove old knick-knacks and declutter my countertops (again).
Finally, you might as well wipe down the refrigerator, dishwasher and stove because, lets face it, the dirt now stands out like a sore thumb. In no time at all you have a Simply Clean Kitchen. (Save the ceiling for another time, it may require paint :-)
Friday, June 27, 2008
Ice cubes, Cranberry juice, Wild Berry flavor Gatorade Fierce, Diet 7-Up
Although Blessed Margaret has not been canonized yet, she is included in this Patron Saints list. It is pretty extensive. These few lines from her biography has endeared her to my cause:
"The birth of a deformed child is a traumatic experience for most parents. After the initial shock, grace and compassion conquer outright rejection. This was not so with Margaret’s parents. Blessed Margaret of Castello was born dreadfully deformed. She was a dwarf, totally blind, hunch-backed and so lame she could hardly walk. Her father immediately ordered the child to be kept out of sight."
I remember now, so clearly, those first few months before Holly's lip repair. I remember her birth and how immediate grace and compassion conquered any shock Lee and I may have felt. I remember Lee, after composing himself, walked over to hold Holly and kiss her. And later, how I wanted to hide her, not from sight but from ridicule. I did not want to hear any unintentionally unkind remarks, I did not want my other children to hear any thoughts that they might remember and repeat later.
Margaret, without the love and support Holly has received from such a far reaching community, achieved the status of Blessed. I hope that Holly will know the compassion and love of Jesus as well as Margaret did.
"Margaret was remarkable for clarity of mind and for infused contemplation. She willingly embraced her cross because she saw suffering through the eyes of faith. She did not know why God permitted her to have so many afflictions; but what she did know, was that He never permits one single misfortune without good reason. Margaret often wondered why people pitied her since she viewed her suffering as the expression of Christ’s love for her and her means to gain heaven. Pain made Margaret compassionate, sensitive and understanding toward others. She visited prisoners, helped the sick, comforted the dying. In spite of her handicap, Margaret was always joyful and courageous. She never became bitter, never complained, never reproached others, never lost heart. Rather, Margaret sought and found her strength in prayer and the sacraments. In every adversity, she turned to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Dominic…there to find the courage to go on. And Margaret did go on…to achieve an intimacy with the Lord known only by those who love Him uncompromisingly."
Blessed Margaret of Castello, I choose you for our Patron Saint.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Clearly we've had a doozy of a second homeschooling year. And my own attention span may have been a little shorter than, say, a fly. Did I say it is only our second year homeschooling? So each of our students is "at grade level or better." Good enough for me. Of course, there are plenty of "areas for improvement." But, I'm so grateful that the whole year wasn't a wash. Who doesn't have room for improvement in their life?
Here's my two cents on testing: test in a group. Pick a standardized test that is well known. Eventually everyone has to take a test in a group. Even if it is just your driver's license test: big crowded room, lots of noise and distractions. And if your students go on to higher education, nothing but tests. That and research papers, lots of writing and tests.
So very glad those days are behind me. (Even though I didn't take this test, I felt like I was the one being tested.) My mom finally finished test taking sometime in her 60's. I'll have to write about how driven to excel our family is some other time. For now, celebrate: They Passed!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I can say No. Still, as an incentive, $20 was included for my inconvenience. Since I haven't done anything but walk to the mail box, I suppose the inconvenience is being reminded that Holly does have a birth defect. No small thing, mind you. I have been basking in the possibility of Holly Marie being named "Baby of the Year" by our local paper. Not that she has, but the potential is so nice to think about.
So, do we participate, and run the risk of more mind numbing doubts: Did I do something wrong? There will be an hour long survey. I am sure the questions will be very in depth. And there is the very real possibility that this "research" could be twisted to somehow, someday support abortion. (England is already grappling with this issue.)
So, what's a girl to do when she's struck out? I headed for the lemon poppy seed muffins. And had taken a bite before I remember to look UP. My thoughts were "Is this going to change Holly's situation? No, and now you've wasted a perfectly good muffin." Into the trash with now marred cake. Hope the sacrifice counts, despite blogging about it!
Here's what I like the best:
1. Having the local weather displayed.
2. A short list of the top Google News stories.
3. The time and date (color coordinated to my theme)
4. The theme! I choose Anne Geddes, which changes all through out the day. All those cute babies and flowers.
5. Google Reader. This gadget (or box) will display my favorite blogs or websites when an update is posted. Reader is under the "more"drop down list at the top of the iGoogle page. Here you can "add subscriptions" to receive updates automatically. You just copy and paste the web address into the add box. Go back to the iGoogle page, then click on Add Stuff, search for Google Reader. "Add it now" and updates will appear on your home page.
Finally, when you are through with your custom page, choose the Tools Menu, Internet Options, and Use Current to make this your home page. Best part is that this is free. You do need to have a google id, still free.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The week before Holly's surgery, I found a new focus to sacrifice food for. That week, I managed to lose 3 pounds. Hooray! The following two weeks, Holly's surgery and my husband's surgery, the real test began. I have managed to maintain but not lose since.
What do you do now? Begin again. I need to focus again. Especially, since I know I will be tested in stressful times ahead. This time I will share my focus: ME. I want to turn to Jesus, instead of food when I am troubled or worried or fearful. I have learned enough to know that when Holly cries, or Bill and Anna fight, or that unexpected bill comes in the mail, I immediately head to the fridge.
What good will that do? Does it stop Holly from crying? Does that extra food calm the argument between the others? Does write the check for the bill? No. What it does do is teach my children that "Food is comfort." And that is definitely a lesson I do not want them to learn.
So for me, for Peace with Food, for the lesson I want my children to learn (Jesus is our Comfort!) I must begin again. Wait on Hunger, Sacrifice Two Bites, Pray. You can find Peace with Food too.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Here's the Simple Solution: Take a small saucer, pour in apple cider vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap, stretched tightly. Poke holes, a kabob stick will work, or a fork.
The idea is that the flies are attracted to the smell, crawl in the hole and are trapped. The only note I have to add, is open and pour the vinegar at the same spot where you will place the plate. Otherwise, the smell distributes on the path you carry the plate, or open bottle. Then the flies are everywhere!
Here's the Second Simple Solution: Keep a bottle of Windex by your kitchen sink, or bathroom mirror. Have paper towels handy. Every time you see one land on the window, spray it. Wipe and dispose. You'll be amazed at how fast the problem is resolved. For some reason the Windex spray bottle works best, any blue window cleaner will do.
(I have mentioned that I spend a lot of time at the kitchen sink? But at least the fruit flies are gone.)
Friday, June 13, 2008
Anna and Abigal, riding lessons at long last!
Bill and Hunter - Play Ball!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Several years ago, when trying to determine if our child was AD/HD, God sent this book my way. This method of parenting has changed our lives. Today, though, I added a new spin on the approach.
Before you can effective discipline your child, you need to clearly identify what behaviors he/she is working on. In the Caregivers Skills Program, there is a list of 17 clear, undeniable behaviors to evaluate. We have been working from this list for a while. The descriptions are broad enough to cover many aspects of life, instead of "clean my room", we focus on "doing as told", "dawdling" and "helplessness/dependency".
Back to the new spin: Summer is here, and every single summer we seem to have an "adjustment" period to our new schedule. And by adjustment I mean, bad behavior. Arguing, fighting, stone walling. You get the idea.
To, hopefully, head this storm off before it hits, I have printed The List of 17. One for each child. We sat down, one by one, to review the list. I added a scale of "I do this often" to "I rarely do this". Asking each child to rate their behavior. Then added my rating to theirs.
But before we begin, we talked about our call the holiness, Confession, how we as Catholics strive to do better, how we can make the change, St. Ignatius. You get the idea. It was a brief introduction, appropriate for the age of the child. Hoping to put this review in a positive light, not a "you are so bad, let's put in writing" speech. More of a "One of the ways Catholics try to get better is to take a minute every once and a while to see how are we doing. This list is a little check for you and me. Something to see the good things you are doing, and where you can do better."
So we began. Talking about each item on the list, what it means, examples of good behavior, bad behavior. Then at the end, I drew a line down the middle to clearly show what was above average and below. Then we re-read the ones below average. I praised each one for the many good things they we doing and asked them to take the list and pray about it. Ask Jesus to help them do better where they needed too.
Finally, I pointed out that this list was nobodies business but yours, mine and God. And one day the list would just be between you and God. No sharing with siblings. (That means, no tattling on whose not doing what). Since we worked on these individually, no one knows the others list. Sound familiar?
There are a few things that may be added to the list to really make it Christian, like "do I hold a grudge" or "do I forgive readily", or maybe "do I share God's love with others?"
The bonus today was that for my oldest, it is the first time since we began working from this list, that I could see how very much he has grown. How many things are so much better today than 5 years ago.
Will this stave off the storm of New Summer Schedule? I hope so, and if not, it certainly helped me see what behaviors I need to focus on with the children.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I know, Bill doesn't look so happy to move the sand, but he sure has been happy building cities, towns and the rock and mulch supply place, ever since!
Lip Repair (3/19/08)
1. Offer the bottle on the opposite side of the repair. Or if it is a bilateral repair, on either side. Holly would gently press the nipple between her gums. Again, the nipple was neither too new(too hard) or too old(too much milk).
2. If this is too hard for your little one. Try a syringe. Offer just a few drops at a time. Ask the hospital for 10cc syringes, and ask for several. So it isn't so hard to keep the formula coming.
3. There are special bottles, like the Soft Sipp or Zip-n-squeeze, but we didn't have to go there. I'll let you know after the Hard Palate Repair.
4. After the first two/three days, begin alternating Tylenol, plain with the Tylenol w/codiene. Codiene can suppress the appetite.
Soft Palate Repair (6/4/08)
1. I approached this like having tonsils out. I figured her throat would be sore, and keeping it moist the first few days would be important. So offer the bottle often.
2. Same applies, not too new or too old of a nipple.
3. Offered apple juice, not cold, but not warm either.
4. Added more Karo syrup to bottles to make avoid the constipation from the pain meds.
5. Mylicon help the first two/three days with the sore throat. Not because of gas, but just to coat her throat to help her swallow medicine or formula. Today is Day 5 and we don't need the Mylicon anymore for that.
6. After the first two/three days, begin alternating Tylenol, plain with the Tylenol w/codiene. Codiene can suppress the appetite.
Hard Palate Repair (10/8/08)
(Now that we have been there, here is what worked for us)
- Must say, that no one thing really worked. What I can gather from other's experiences is that you, too, must try until you find something that does work.
- We brought a bottle, a cup, a Soft Sipp and medicine dropper. In the end we used all four to get through the first 5 days after surgery.
- Day 1, Holly was still drinking pretty well from her bottle. (12 oz total)
- Day 2, no bottle, we used cup and Soft Sipp (12 oz total)
- Day 3, cup (maybe 10 oz)
- Day 4, cup, dropper, sherbet, Chocolate Silk (6 oz total, worst day)
- Day 5, bottle only. This was our turn around day, Holly has improved so much every day.
Other things that made a difference: Holly got an extra IV of Zantac, in addition to her normal doses of Prevacid that really, really helped.
All medicines were very, very difficult to give, Tylenol, Keflex, even Prevacid. We thinned out the each dose with water. That seemed to help some. Now a week later, she is able to take medicine better, but not quite as good as before.
Above all else, I prayed each day that God would show me how to best feed Holly at that moment. Each day was different. Perservere, watch for wet diapers and hang in there!
There are plenty of good websites that help explain feeding a child with a cleft lip and/or palate. Like this or this. Here's a few things not mentioned.
1. Yes, when your new born drinks a bottle, he/she will absolutely swallow more air. At first. Eventually, within a few days, you should see an improvement. Otherwise, try another bottle. Once Holly and I tried the Medela Special Needs Feeder, regular size, I could see that Holly was not swallowing so much extra air. And she did not need to burp so often. The other bottles we tried, including the Mini Medela bottle, just didn't work quite right for us.
2. Can I just say this one more time? It is so very important. A new Medela Special Needs Feeder nipple can increase the amount of time your new born takes to finish a bottle, ALOT. From 15 mins to an hour or longer. Now that Holly is older, 6 months, the switch is not so drastic, but still noticeable. Be aware of how old the nipple is, especially at night. Even more important if your little one is struggling with weight gain issues. You can lessen this impact, by pressing the nipple between your fingers to help "soften" before you begin using a new nipple.
3. Milk Allergies and Lactose Intolerance ARE DIFFERENT from 'extra air being swallowed." These two conditions are not cleft related. You can tell the difference! Do not let a doctor tell you otherwise. Symptons of milk allergies (like any food allergy) include gasping, wheezing, difficulty swallowing and bloated stomach.
Lactose Intolerance can cause "colic" like symptoms, inconsolable crying. For Holly, the crying would begin about 20 mins after the bottle. This can include diarrhea or constipation. Do not let a doctor tell you, because your baby doesn't have near death diarrhea, there is no problem.
4. Reflux. What can I say about that? Well, if you have the right bottle, the right formula and your little one is still unusually irritable, something else may be up. Like, Reflux. Lots of good info on the web about this too. Holly's main "signal sympton" is a cough that cause her to cry.
Eventually, your baby will drink a bottle like any other, learn to burp themselves and generally be a happy little kid. You can be the Baby Whisperer for your little one, babies really don't cry for no reason at all.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Daddy and Holly waiting and waiting and waiting for surgery to begin. 2 hours late. Not complaining, the child before us was have brain surgery. Please, take your time.
Here we are in the room, waiting for Prevacid. So this is after the surgery, about 2 hours after.
This would be Day Two, perking up a little. Fever is gone. Ready for a walk around the floor.
So we begin working our way back up to a six ounce bottle. Good thing Holly has gained weight enough to start back at 2 ounces again. Thank you so much for so many prayers!
Absolutely have to thank Mrs. Fisher and Aunt Rachel for the outfits they made special for Holly. We had plenty of beautiful clothes, that did not interfere with the IV's and tubes and bells and whistles... What a relief to wrestle with one less thing. Thank you Mimi and Aunt Rachel!