Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So, what do you think?

I thought that since summer is over (though it's still warm here in Texas), it is time to fold up and put away the summer flip-flop background and try something new. What do you think? Most of the fellows who read through my blog (though I would say there are only a hand-full of you out there) probably won't be excited about the flowers and such. I can understand that. But what about the rest of you? Should I go with this more seasonally appropropriate looking vintage shoe or should I go back to the flip-flops? This is also a test for those of you who do actually read this to see if you know how to leave a comment. I love comments, but I rarely get more than one at a time if any at all. So, come on......leave me a comment.......what do you think about the new look? Yes? No?

Monday, September 28, 2009

WHEW!!!!!!!!!!

Today was Ashlyn's 3rd visit to her endocrinologist since her diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes
in February. I was really sweating it this time because we've had such a time trying to keep
her blood sugar within normal range since we switched over to using
"insulin-to-carb ratios". For the last two months or so, her numbers have been
consistently high, so I was afraid that her A1C would be high this time.
I was nervous that maybe the doctor would frown on us and wonder if we
had actually learned anything in the class we took in June, or if
he would scold us for not making enough adjustments to her insulin amounts.
I don't know why I was thinking these things, but I guess that's just part
of having a child with a disease like this where you are basically keeping her alive
by the quality of the care you give her.

Her A1C level in March: 10.2
Her A1C level in July: 7.7
Her A1C level today: 7.5

BOO-YAH!!!

I just couldn't believe it! I was "high-fivin" the nurse, and laughing like I'd won the lottery.
The doctor reassured me that she had had enough good numbers mixed into all the
high ones to help her to get such a great reading today!!!
Needless to say, I was so relieved!!

The big surprise though was her weight!

Her weight in July: 54 lbs.
Her weight today: 72 lbs.

Ummm...yeah.....that's a whopping 18 pounds in 2.5 months!! But the doctor said that she is still just below the 50th percentile for her age, so I'm so glad we're getting her weight back to healthy levels!!! In July she had been so sick for one week and then went to summer church camp the following week, which is why her weight was low at the last visit.

Since her blood glucose readings have been on the high side across the board for over a week
now, the doctor did recommend several changes in her insulin levels. We're going up to
9 units of Lantus,
changing her correction scale from 1 unit at 250 to 1 unit at 200
with a unit for every 50 over 200,
and jumping from a dinner ratio of 1:16 to 1:13.
This seems like a lot of change and much more insulin than we've ever done,
but the doctor said she's out of her "honeymoon" phase now.
Kinda sad about that.
To me, it means that that is it......it's final......her pancreas is completely gone now.
Sigh.

Retreat.....




Main Entry: 1re·treat
Pronunciation: \ri-ˈtrēt\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English retret, from Anglo-French retrait, from past participle of retraire to withdraw, from Latin retrahere, from re- + trahere to draw
Date: 14th century

1 a (1) : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable (2) : the process of receding from a position or state attained b (1) : the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position (2) : a signal for retreating c (1) : a signal given by bugle at the beginning of a military flag-lowering ceremony (2) : a military flag-lowering ceremony
2 : a place of privacy or safety : refuge
3 : a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director

"And he (Jesus) said unto them (his disciples),

'Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while:'

for there were many coming and going,

and they had no leisure so much as to eat."

Mark 6:31

As a busy mommy, I often have days like the disciples had that day. I often don't have a chance to sit down and eat before my children have finished and are up and at it again. Some days I realize in the middle of the afternoon or around dinner time that I haven't even had a minute to get to the bathroom. Motherhood is incredibly demanding and exhausting. So this past summer, when my husband came home from spending the week with our two oldest girls at summer camp, and told me he wanted me to go to our church's Ladies Retreat in September, you can imagine how delighted I was!! It had been 4 babies ago that I was able to leave all the children and get away for a couple days. My husband took the week off of work so I wouldn't have to worry about arranging for child care for our 6 children. He should get the "Father-of-the-year Award!" He does in my house anyway!!!

I think it's important that we figure out a way to get our rest.....to retreat from the demands around us and just rest in the quiet peace that only our Lord can give us.

We were challenged by the speaker to make our quiet time with the Lord our PRIORITY for the day. With small children that is SUCH a challenge. It's so difficult sometimes to figure out just how early is early ENOUGH to get up before little ones. If I try to find that quiet time at any other time of my day, it somehow alludes me. So morning is the best time for me.

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord:

in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee,

and will look up."

Psalm 5:3


I'm not always successful at being consistent with this endeavor, but I'm trying to take little steps at a time to make this discipline a reality every day!! It's where I can find strength and peacefulness in the chaos of my everyday. The Lord reminds me of His presence with me as I go through the day. He gives me that internal compass, that purpose for what I'm doing at home with all my children.

I thought you might enjoy a peek into the loveliness that was my retreat this past weekend.




Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reflecting.........

On this first day of Autumn, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and this lady's post for yesterday (September 21st) practically defines MY blog!! It is written by a mother of 15 children who I do not know personally, but I feel we have similar visions for our families. I hope you'll take a minute to read it.....it's worth the visit. Read her blog post HERE.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another reason why we've chosen homeschooling.......

Today, my two oldest children had the opportunity to attend an event with some homeschooling friends (thanks again, Tony and Tiffany!!!) where they got to see (up CLOSE!) our favorite former President and fellow Texan. It was an educational event hosted by the Dallas Cowboys and an organization called "Big Thought". One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can custom tailor your schooling schedule to your family's schedule, and adjust things so you can go to things like this where you might not otherwise because your strapped to the schedule of your school district.
Who says homeschoolers are unsocialized and sheltered?????




Alexis took this picture and yes, she was this close.







Lexi took this one too, but she said she zoomed in a little. Still......

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Taming the "Laundry Monster"

This last year I have felt, that for some reason, my laundry situation has gotten out of control. We live in a small house with no true laundry "room", no basement (if you can possibly imagine living in the tornado alley of Texas!!!), and little extra space for laundry to wait to be folded. I had been folding it on my bed (and my husband's for those of you who were wondering), but since my husband is sleeping during the day and working at night it isn't an option for us anymore.

So I moved it all to the dining room table. Well, then it was taking so long for me to get to the folding and to finish all the folding, that the table was becoming unusable for mealtime and even our schooling.

So with no other options left, but laundry still piling up, I had to figure something out that would take me very little time to fold 4-5 loads of laundry at a time in just a few minutes. I had asked my mom the last time she visited us if she could help me come up with a solution, and I ended up expanding on her idea. Here's what I came up with:



First, I wash and dry everything before I even start. I end up with a mountain of laundry, but then I only have to do this once!! As I wash and dry it, I put it in laundry baskets and stuff in out of the way (usually in our bedroom) until I'm ready to sort.




This was about 5-6 loads of laundry from everyday stuff to the family reunion laundry.




Next, I purchased a different color "basket" for each of my children who can handle putting away their own laundry. So Alexis, Ashlyn, Grant, and Abby each have their own basket, while I have a basket for the two youngest because both of their clothes go in the same dresser. I also have a basket for my, and my husband's, things.

Then, I gather up all the laundry to be folded, all the baskets for each member of the family, and put it all on the table.





I simply toss the different items of clothing into each appropriate person's basket without folding them. I leave the folding and hanging up of the clothes to the children. I do end up folding the two youngest's clothes, as well as mine and my husband's, and putting all of that away. But in our family, the only things that are folded and put into dressers are underwear, socks, and jammies. We hang up everything else.



22 minutes after I started sorting, this is what is left of that monster!!!
You can see the 5 baskets of childrens clothing, along with our hang-ups over the chair.
You'll also notice a shabby 'ol cardboard box there at the end.....that's my single sock box.
That's where all the lonely socks that come out of the dryer single go until we go through it and match them back up.



I usually have one of the girls fold the loads of towels and sheets and put those away too. This new system has saved me HOURS of time, plus it teaches the children how to properly store their clothing and where things belong.








I have also found that it works much better for me to do all this sorting after all the children are in bed, so first thing in the morning, as they are doing their morning chores, they can just grab their basket and clear their clothes off. Then the basket goes into their closet to be used as a hamper until laundry day again. They just bring their basket to me full of clothes to be washed and we start over!!!


This is not a flawless system though, and on occasion I do have a child or two that takes the basket to their room and then just leaves it there full until I get after them to FINISH the job and put the clothes in the drawers!! In fact, I think there's still a basket sitting on the bed of a little girl at this moment still waiting to be emptied!!! As you can see, it doesn't eliminate the need for parental involvement completely, but it still beats having to fold for HOURS and then taking the time on top of that to hang-up everything!!




How have you learned to tame your "laundry monster?"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our new "toy"

Last week, we finally received our pen needles so we could actually begin using this new form of insulin delivery. It had been a loooong time coming (which I explain in more detail here), so we were very excited to finally get to use the insulin pen!!




It is "easier" to use the pen in that the insulin is already stored in the pen and ready to use right away. No more having to pull out the vial of Humalog, sterilize it with alcohol, and pull it into the syringe. You just put on the needle and dial up what you need.




But I do have a question about it, and if any of my new or "faithful" readers would know the answer, I would love to hear from you. What I don't understand is that we have been told over and over by nurses, doctors, AND pharmacists that the insulin must be refrigerated. This is supposed to preserve it and keep it from loosing it effectiveness. But now the directions for the pen tell us absolutely NOT to refrigerate the pen. But you can't take the insulin out of it once you have it primed and ready to go. How does that work?? Does the insulin go bad sooner? I haven't found anybody that can give me a consistent answer for this. So we'll see.

Also, since we've been using the ratios consistently, I've found that Ashlyn's blood sugar levels have just sky-rocketed. We've had to make several adjustments up in her insulin amounts with both the Humalog (at all meals) as well as her bedtime Lantus. I'm not sure we're doing it right. I was under the impression that we no longer have a set amount of carbs for meals or snacks and that we now calculate how much insulin she needs based on how much she wants to eat. But I seem to remember reading somewhere that you can't make to many jumps in the number of carbs all at once, or it messes up your system and makes your blood sugar levels all out-of-whack. I guess my question is this: So does she truly have the freedom to eat whatever she wants, or can she just fudge once in a while and we add extra to cover those extra carbs? Any thoughts???

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Then.......and now!!!

Last year, our youngest met her cousin that is just 4 days younger than her. In proper genealogical terminology, they are first cousins thrice removed.

How about THAT???

Last year they were just about 9 months old. This year they were both nearly 20 months old. I hope we can get a picture of the two of them every year now so we can watch how they grow up!!!






September 2008
Emma and Aryn
8 1/2 months old







September 2009
Emma and Aryn
19 1/2 months old

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keeping them busy.......(part 2)

The day of the actual family reunion we all congregate at the local state park shelter. Usually there are several different things for the children to do outdoors, which is the perfect place for children with ADHD to be. My children with ADHD are just so much happier, calmer, and less ugly to each other when they are outdoors. They normally get to participate is such activities as hiking around the lake, a game of horseshoes, exploring for bugs and spiders, blowing bubbles, and collecting rocks.

Well, not this year!!!

So here are some of the things we did to keep children from running around and making a general nuisance of themselves:





Making sun catchers
with paint.






Making sand bottles.




Playing a rousing game or two of Yahtzee (a family favorite).



Playing in the outdo
ors anyway!!





And of course, there WAS a l
ittle of this kind of thing....






....and this kind of thing (I don't know if you can tell in this picture that he is dripping wet from falling down flat on his belly in a puddle!)





.....and this!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Keeping them busy.......(part 1)

It has been so helpful for me to now have a clear picture and definite name for the things I'm working with in my two "high energy" ones. It makes it so much easier to have some names and to be able to pinpoint exactly what we need to do as a family to help them operate more in harmony with our entire family as a unit. This past weekend was our family reunion. Our children grow more and more excited about this annual event as the years go by. They have been asking "how many more days?" for several weeks now. The one thing they look forward to the most is swimming in the pool at the hotel. We don't get to swim in large, in ground pools very often, so this is a huge treat for them. We planned on arriving around 3:00 pm on Friday, jumping in the pool at 3:02 pm, having a picnic dinner at the tables around the pool, and going to bed when the pool closed that night.

Weeeeeeeeeeell, it didn't quite work-out that way.

We knew we were in trouble when it started raining on the way to the hotel, and when we saw the weather report after arriving, we knew our plans were doomed. So far, this weekend (and I'm writing this after arriving home on Sunday), we've had nearly 7 inches of rain!!

Rain, rain, all day and night...the whole time.

So what do you do with 6 children, 2 of which have ADHD, who want to be swimming, but are cooped up in one room in a hotel for two days?? One thing that has become crystal clear to me after handling these children for so many years now, is that they need something to do CONSTANTLY or they just get all this energy pent up inside of them, and they eventually get out-of-control. They revert to things like running around, chasing each other, and wrestling, all in what seems to me like an effort to shake off this feeling that they might explode! And I'm not talking about the normal kind of running around that all children eventually do because they are bored. You can almost feel the energy build up in the room and watch their behavior just escalate into almost a frenzy and inevitably someone gets hurt. I have found that if I can create some kind of schedule or itinerary of constructive things to do in 15-30 minute increments, it helps all of us tremendously. But that takes an enormous amount of pre-planning, and lots of packing, to pull off when you're on a trip. But I'm so glad that I did throw into our activity box several "extra" things to do in case of an emergency, because our entire weekend ended up being "an emergency". Here are some of the things we did in the hotel to kill time and fight off the wiggle worm:

Instead of getting to use these (this is where they hung the entire weekend)....





.....or getting to go into THIS.......







......we did things like this....




......and this......





.....and this.....





....and even a little of this:



There was still plenty of running in and out of our room to visit Grandma in her room, playing with some toys and games we brought along, and watching a movie (for about 15 minutes) on the portable DVD player. Overall, though, having things for them to do really saved our sanity!!!