Friday, December 21, 2012

Ridiculous that's what it is

Out of boredom I  came up with this post.  Staying at home with sick children leaves a lot of time for things like....blogging.  No seriously, this has been on my mind a lot lately so I figured, why not?  I wanted to share what I have to do to take care of myself these days.  It really is ridiculous.  If there is one thing that I am really looking forward to when I got to heaven, it's a new body. A body without flaws.  A body as perfect as the day I was born.  It seems with age, my body has become more maintenance than ever.
Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, let me walk you through my routine.

(I have finally, FINALLY found products that control my acne prone skin.  It is a BEAR to get though and so time consuming, but OH so worth it.)

I get up brush my teeth and wash my face with peroxide based cleanser.  I tone my skin.  I put a benzoyl peroxide cream over my entire face.  I put on moisturizer then eye cream.  I put on my makeup (which is also a serious of several steps I'll spare you).  I flat iron my hair (got to take care of those frizzies). I then curl my hair (I know this seems weird after straightening it, but it doesn't lay right unless I do both).  I style and spray. (This entire process is a 45 minute process)

Going throughout my day I often have to dab my face with towlettes.  Oh the joy of oily skin inherited from my lovely mother. Then in the evening I hop in the shower and use a antidandruff shampoo.  (This is the 4th dandruff shampoo I have tried and I think finally, finally I am seeing some progress).  Dandruff....another lovely problem of I have inherited with age.  I follow this up with a heavy conditioner.  I use baby soap to get all my makeup off.  I use my peroxide based cleanser on my face again.  I use apricot exfoliating scrub on my face.  Get out of the shower and put in heat protectant spray to prepare my hair for styling the next day.  I use toner again.  I then use a acne controlling retinol complex all over my face.  Then it's eye cream again, and then it's moisturizer again.  THEN, it's curel all over my legs and feet and lets not forget those handful of vitamins to help keep my skin clear!

Now to the person with normal average skin this would seem ridiculous, and I agree.  Believe me, if I could get away with one cleanser on my skin and calling it good I would.  However, for years I have struggled with acne, dry skin, dandruff, you name it.  I have tried a gazillion products.  These problems are embarassing and really affect my self esteem.  For the first time in a LONG time I feel I have finally feel my skin is healthy and glowing and balanced.  It is a lot of work and steps to get it to this point and  lot of products, but I do it every day, day in and day out, religiously because I've been on the other side and it ain't pretty!  It is so worth it.

My problems are genetic.  My mother had them, her father had them, and so on.  Totally sucks, BUT I am thankful.  Thankful that I have it in control.  Sometimes I wonder though.  Am I the only one who has to go to such great lengths for beauty or are there a lot of women out there in the same boat as me that find that with age their beauty care routine has gottten huge?  If this is what 35 looks like,what in the world will 60 look like. I keep telling myself that my skin that still acts like a teenager will finally grow up by then and give me a break!  We shall see.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The letter

Home today with both girls.  As you may remember (if you keep up with our blog), Kadyn had a fever last Friday and Saturday and then was better by Sunday.  She attended school Monday and Tuesday, but when she got off the bus Tuesday I could tell something was wrong.  The girl was seriously tired.  She napped much of the day after school and went to bed early which was not like her at all.  The next morning she woke with another fever and complaining of severe ear pain.  I knew we were now dealing with a secondary infection caused by whatever started this thing last Friday.  So it was another day off of school and a visit to the doctor.  She was diagnosed with another ear infection, surprise, surprise.  She continued to run a very high fever that night which I did not treat with fever reducers because of my newfound commitment to try to let the fever do it's job.  We did go ahead and fill prescription for amoxicillin which the nurse assured us would make her feel better in 24 hours.  The following morning (today) she woke fever free and she's been getting back to normal all day.  Looks like we can all go back to work/school tomorrow.  Just in time to do a Christmas party with my students before break.

Now I'm just hoping my littlest doesn't get anything.  Honestly it seems like miracle she hasn't gotten something.  She's surrounded by illness at school and even 2 cases of chicken pox.  Yet, she is clicking along healthy as can be (knock on wood).

I had to type up a letter to Kadyn's school this morning with receipts of her meds and doctor's visit attached to verify that indeed my girl was sick and it was authentic.  We have received a letter from the school stating she has missed too much and there may be an investigation concerning her absences.  Although I know these letters are automatically generated and just protocol, it was hard not to take it personally.  No one wants our child to be healthy more than us and we would never play hookie from school;  to date we have only taken her out one day for vacation (way before any illness) and the rest of her absences (6 to date) were all illness (all fever related).  We value her education.  I wonder if it's letters like those that lead a lot of parents to send their children to school as walking germs for fear of the little slap on the wrists from the school for letting them stay home.  Sigh!  You can't win. 

Anyhoo...I'll get off my soap box.  For now I'm happy because my babe is doing better and all will (hopefully) return to normal tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What it took

After the tragedy Friday, our school is going to make big changes to our security measures as I'm sure many schools are also doing.  There really was no security system in place at our school before and it did worry me in light of Friday's events.  I am sad it had to come to this and that we even have to worry about these things, but glad that we are taking action to protect ourselves and the children we work with daily.

One of my kiddos said she prayed that God would keep us safe from things like what happened and that was about all I heard from the kids about it.   I was glad for that.  Kids need to be allowed to be kids while the adults do what is necessary to make changes and protect them.

Everyday before school I pray over my girls that God would protect them from evil.  That prayer never meant so much to me as it did this morning knowing what can happen.  Shortly after the tragedy a wave of fear gripped me and it made me want to keep my kids safe at home with me always.  But then reality set in.  This is the world we live in.  It doesn't matter the place, this type of violent crime can literally happen anywhere, any time.  Rather than be hermits, we have to be prayer warriors.  Prayers for protection for our family, friends, and those we love, and prayer that God will help those who are troubled enough to commit these crimes.  Sad, sad, scary, scary times. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hot topic, a little clarification

Whoa! I've never had such a response on a post!  The one danger in stating things in written language is the opportunity to for things to be misconstrued.  There really is no substitute for face to face interaction.  After my last post I feel compelled to offer a little clarification and then I'm ready to put this thing to rest. Hopefully nothing I say this time comes across the wrong way as it pertains to autism.  I'll do my best.

1.  I do not know very much about the disease and am getting my first taste of it this year working with children who have it.

2.  I have watched several experts on television programs give all kinds of explanations and theories and listened to personal testimonies of parents who are dealing with it but that is the extent of my knowledge.  I am still learning and have a long ways to go, but for the first time I am thinking about it more simply because I work with children who have it.

3.  For the first time, I have met a mother who has spent half her life devoted to learning more about the disease (because of her son's diagnosis) and trying things that have worked with her own child; she too has gone to multiple conferences and had personal talks with one of the nation's experts.  I highly value her opinion because I know she is very passionate about it and only wants the best for children with this disease and in no way want to discount her theories as to why it happens and what works to treat it mostly because she literally has personal experience with it.  She is now working as a case worker for families dealing with the disease to give them hope for recovery and treatment.

4.  I IN NO WAY meant to imply that the young man in Conneticut committed the crime he did because of autism.  It is my opinion that there had to be mental illness of some kind going on to commit a crime such as this, quite possibly some evil force at work too.  However, could some forms of autism make certain individuals more prone to mentail illness because of the emotions one must feel dealing with the disease?  I suppose it could be possible.  Food for thought anyways.    I know nothing about the individual other than what the news tells us.  I just thought, like everyone who heard of the tragedy, why?  I guess a person just wants to answer that question so they can figure out how to prevent it from ever happening again.  We may never know.  It seems if one could figure out how to prevent his from happening in the future, it may be the best way to honor those who have passed from this horrific event.

5. I am very thankful for modern medicine and feel it is God given.  However, I also know our great Lord gave us wonderful bodies equipped to deal with many of the things that ail us all on own.  I just feel that lately, the pendulum has swung a little too far to one side and we need to even it out a little and swing a little the other way.    When immunizations first began they were meant to only protect people from a few life threatening diseases.  Now the number of things we are being treated for has drastically rose.  Chicken pox for example.  I had it as a child and most of my classmates had it around the same time.  We all lived through it.  I've never heard of an entire colony of people being wiped out from it (correct me if I'm wrong).  A teacher at my school had it and although it was awful having it as an adult, she survived it.  One of our students at school has it as we speak, in fact.  My point is, when do we draw the line with the things we put into our bodies?  When did we go from only being immunized for a few things to being immunized for 26 different things by the age of 2?  Are we so paralyzed with fear of getting sick that we have come to this, or is it all money driven?  Another immunization puts another dollar in the drug business's pocket.  And if it is all money driven, could a huge cover up be going on as to what it is actually doing to us?  It's a conspiracy theory I suppose.

I wish I could have had my conversation with that mother I have mentioned taped so I could share it with you.  Her testimony really impacted me and she could speak better for herself than I can.  I asked her some of the same questions some of you have brought up such as many children are hitting a developmental milestone around the same time they are immunized and that contracting the disease at that time may be more related to the age than the immunizations.  This mother argued that after talking to countless mothers and hearing their stories, there is no way you can NOT make that link.  

I brought up the argument also that perhaps there are not more cases of it, it is just that we are better able to identify what we are dealing with now.  However, if you talk to any veteran teachers, especially teachers who have been around for a long time, they will ALL tell you that the children today are not like the children of the past.  They are dealing with things they have NEVER had to deal with before identified or not.  The principal of my school has been working with kids for 20 years and says that every year she gets more and more cases of disorders walking through her doors.  

I'm not entirely sure where I stand on it right now.  All I know is that this is the first year it has gotten more personal for me as I am working with some of these children.  I really hope they make some advances on this disease and get some answers.  It is such a sad, sad disease and I really feel for individuals and families that deal with this.  I think in the end we all want the same thing....answers.  Why does it happen?  What causes it?  Can it be cured?  And lastly, as it relates to my I said before I am not going to stop immunizing at this point based on what I have heard.  I still would like to know a lot more before I make a big decision like that.  However, when my children come home with a fever, I am not going to reach for the meds right off the bat.  I want to give our bodies a little credit and let them do what God designed them to do, fight off the virus the way God intended.  However, I am also not willing to let my kid's temp spike high enough that it could risk brain damage or seizures.  With careful monitoring and instinct I will treat appropriately.

I think that about covers it.  Hope I didn't offend anyone.  Just my two cents worth. 

To treat or not

Friday I got a call that Kadyn was running a fever.  Sigh!  Seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were going through this again.  Last time her fever lasted for 5 days.  Then Bren got it and it lasted for 5 days too.  I missed a lot of work and the girls missed a lot of school.  Later I got a letter from K's school saying she missed too much school and there might be an investigation to make sure sure her lack of attendance wasn't affecting her education negatively.  Now I realize this is just a protocol they do with all their students who have 5 or more absences, but I still felt frustrated because there wasn't a darn thing I could do about the fact that she was sick. 

Last time I treated the girls with fever reducers the entire time. I remember wondering if perhaps I was prolonging their illness by doing so.  The meds always reduced the fevers enough so that the girls felt pretty good with the exception of a little puking and lack of appeptite.  Sick kids need to rest.  There were very little naps taken when the kids were on the meds.  They just weren't as tired on the meds. 

I asked the doctor if giving them those meds would prolong the illness.  She said no.  So Friday when I picked Kadyn up I gave her fever reducers.  Then I hopped online and did a little research of my own.  Now I realize just because I read about something online doesn't make it truth, but I did find sources that claimed that giving your children fever reducers does prolong an illness by as long as one day.  Knowing that Kadyn really needed to go to school Monday I decided to take a different approach the next day.  The meds wore off and I didn't give her any more.  She was MISERABLE.  I told myself if her temp got above 102 I would give her pain meds.  It never got there.  She cried a couple times  because she felt like crap and she was very lethargic and tired.  Not the same as when she's on meds.  She actually slept almost an entire day.  It took a lot of will power not to dope her up so she felt better.  I hate seeing my babies suffer.

The next morning she woke up and the fever was gone!  A two day fever vs a 5 day fever!  I'll take it!  It could have been just a fluke that it was so much shorter this time.  It couldn't have been the same virus that caused her fever this time, so maybe this one wasn't as aggressive.  I don't know.  All I know is that her recovery time was soooo much shorter this time.  It makes sense to me that letting the body do what it was designed to do is smart.  Fevers are not the enemy.  It is the body's way of burning up the germs or virus that is causing all the problems.  God made us fully equipped to heal ourselves if we let nature take it's course. 

Upon hearing news of the tragedy in Conneticut Friday I found it interesting that the gentlemen that committed the crime had autisum.  This year has been eye opening working in school again.  Teaching orchestra before I never dealt with children with disabilities.  This year I have two children who are autistic.  After talking to the principal and teachers I have come to realize that the instances of these cases are on the rise.  One of the parents of these children was the kindergarten teacher whom I took over for.  She has spent a good portion of her life researching and educating herself on the disease.  She is now certified to work with children with these disabilities.  She was told that her child would never be fully functioning and never be able to live a normal life without assistance.  She claims that his symptoms started after he was given immunizations.  THIS has been VERY controversial.  Proponents of the immunizations claim there is no correlation and they are completely safe.  It's adversaries claim it is all a lie that the drug administration stands to loose millions of dollars if we start believing it.

Too make a long story short.  This mother has committed half her life to helping her son recover from the disease in a natural way through therapy and diet and recently the doctor has said that this child is almost well enough not to even be labeled autistic.  If you met him, you would never know.  I wouldn't have even known if anyone hadn't told me.   It really makes you think. Is our society really to blame for these super bugs, for increased diesases and disorders?  A pill for ever ill!  I'm beginning to think so.  I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced to not immunize my children just yet,  but at least when it comes to the common virus, I think letting nature do it's thing isn't a bad idea.  Monday Kadyn will be attending school and I will be going to work.  Friday I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen.  Praise God!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wierd realities

It's no secret that my mother's health has been up and down for several years now.  Every cold and flu season she becomes very ill.  Last winter she got pnemonia.  She no longer has fully functioning lungs because of the scarring left on her lungs from sarcoidosis.  This always makes her recovery take twice as long and the symptoms twice as bad as they would be in a normal healthy adult.  This winter is no exception.  She filed for FMLA at work so she could take an extended leave to recover and not have it count against her at work.  She is on several drugs to keep her symptoms under control and they are COSTLY! In addition, there is some fear that two of her discs in her back are starting to fuse together as a side effect of one of the drugs.

A few weeks ago she mentioned to me how scary it had gotten one evening when she was really fighting her sickness and how it made her realize that maybe it was time to start working on her bucket list.  She is realizing that there are no guarantees on her longevity especially in her condition and she has things she wants to do before her time comes.  She is about to hit her 60th birthday.  Her father passed in his seventies.  What a weird reality that must be for an individual to admit you are starting the last leg of your journey on earth. And what a weird reality it is for me as her daughter to know that my time with my parents is going fast and there may be a day when I do not have living parents. I don't want to think about it really, but part of me knows I would be better to think about it, so I will be more prepared when it does happen.

I would love to think my Mom is going to live to a ripe old age of 100, but I think I know that won't happen given her condition. I just wish I didn't live so darn far away.  Once or twice a year is not nearly enough time to spend with your parents, especially when you don't know what the furture holds for them.  One of the reasons I am looking forward to returning to teaching in the public schools is that with the increased pay will come more opportunities to go see my parents more often.  I will also have the time to do so because I will have my summers off.

Life goes by much too quickly!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Changes that I like

I am about to reach the halfway point of the school year.  I've now had 4 months to settle into my new job and being a working mother (working out of the home that is) for the first time.  There have been some changes that have come along with this new role.  Here's the ones that I like:

-My waking times have been earlier, but consistent.  This has forced me to go to bed earlier because my body really gives me no choice.  I start draining very quickly around 9 and by 10 I'm toast. I just feel like my body is in better rhythm now where before I was all over the place and my body felt confused. 

-My youngest has an earlier bed time than my oldest.  Naps are just out of the question for Bren, yet she still needs a smidge of extra sleep.  We have started making her go to bed 1/2 an hour earlier than K.  Now they can't keep each other up and K is forced to be quiet so she doesn't wake her sister.  This has actually made Kadyn fall asleep faster too because she has no one to interact with.  The only option is sleep.

-I am making sack lunches for the first time for BOTH my girls.  I never did it for Kadyn before but figured this year since I had to for B I would for K too.  It's a nice feeling knowing K's lunch account won't run empty because we don't need it and I am in complete control what K eats at school.

-I tried all kinds of laundry schedules this year.  I finally settled on my old standby....once a week, only I altered it slightly.  Kadyn has to put all my shirts and Daddy's shirts on hangars and put away her own laundry (before I did it all by myself).  This is part of her chores to earn an allowance.  I also have bought two extra hampers and the girls' clean clothes go directly into those hampers when I am sorting things.  This makes things so much easier to put away when everyone has their own hamper and gives me extra space on my bed to sort other clothing.

-Kadyn has a set homework time.  Before daycare kind of made this difficult.  She gets one tv show after school to unwind then it's straight to homework.

-I now menu plan for an ENTIRE MONTH.  I LOVE this.  This has made life so much easier. Just grab a menu, make a grocery list and go.

-I grocery shop for two weeks at a time with a small run inbetween weeks. I have not actually put a pencil and a paper to this, but I feel like I save money somehow doing this.

-I freeze my milk.  Since I shop for two weeks at a time, I freeze things that won't be used the first week.  I never run out of milk!

-I put out an entire week's clothing so I don't have to stew each morning about what I'm going to wear and waste time.  This includes doing all my ironing on one day each weekend so I'm good to go for the week.

-I do bible study time with the kids (this is a work in progress because sometimes I forget).  Now that I'm not home all day with my kids they don't get story times with me on a regular basis like they used too.  After one sermon I started to feel convicted to get back into the word.  I had let that part of my routine slide for some time.  I also had a strong desire to have my kids be in the word too and I had slacked on this too.  This made me think, why not just have MY bible study time be with THEM.  Then I can check several things off my list, my bible time, their bible time, and bible stories count as stories so that is storytime too. 

-Errands after school, not on the weekends.  I love that this is an option for me.  Usually Jeff gets my groceries on the weekends, but if not, I make a trip after school the following monday.  I've got plenty of time to do so. I don't have to fight the crowds as much around 2:00 on a weekday.  Before I could only do errands on weekends as I had daycare kids in my home until 6. 

-Saturdays are for relaxing only or doing what I want!  I need at least one full day to reenergize for the next week.  I routinely disobey this rule, but I've been trying to be better about it lately.  Since half a day is spent at church on Sundays may as well just spend the other half on cleaning.  This way I don't have to spend any time cleaning on Saturday and can have a FULL day off!  Woohoo!

There you have it.  Changes I have made and think I will keep! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What THEY teach ME.

I am a teacher, but a teacher also must be taught.  The other day I realized I learn something from everyone in my family.  Here's what I came up with:

Jeff- From Jeff I have learned people skills.  If there's one thing that attracted me to Jeff right away it is how good he is with people.  He can walk into a crowd of strangers and start a conversation with anyone and make them feel comfortable within 10 seconds.  He takes the awkwardness out of meeting new folks.  He has also taught me about writing thankyou cards and how to be a better host.  I still stink at this, but, I'm trying.  He has also taught me (through example) to be more compassionate, loving, and patient.   

Kadyn-Kadyn has taught me that phases come and go.  I have been through so many different phases and trials with her that at the time, felt like they would never end, they always do.  She has also inspired me (through seeing her own passion) to keep hobbies and keep the passion in things I love.  But most of all, she has made me realize how much my children look up to me and the incredible responsibility I have as a role model to them.  I am acutely aware of my impact on my children because of her.  She is notorious for wanting to be like me in the what she does, say, and how she acts.  Sometimes it is a good reflection, sometimes it is not. 

Brennan-Brennan has taught me how each person has their own love language.  Hers is physical touch.  I am not a touchy feely person, but she has made me realize that for some, this is survival and the validation they crave.  I feel fortunate to have learned this while she is still little and easy to love on.  She has also taught me to pick my battles and to be more sensitive to feelings.  She has also taught me that not all children are alike nor should they be expected to be alike even if they come from the same bloodline.   Because of this I have to work on not comparing my children nor having the same expecationas for them both, but rather, to treat them as the individuals they are.

The teacher has been taught. I look forward to learning more about life through them. Thankyou Lord for my family of teachers. 

Turkey Tot is 4!

For the first half of the year I had nick named Bren turkey tot!  She loved it and would always correct me if I used any other term of endearment.  I hope I never forget her turkey tot phase. I think Jeff said it best the other day when he said, "In some ways I want my kids to grow up and other ways, I want them to slow down." 

I finished typing my birthday letter for Bren as I do with both my children for every birthday they have.  Eventually, I will bind all the letters for them and give it to them as a gift when they fly the nest.  When I type those letters I have to go back and read the letters before to figure out just how much my girls have grown and changed in the past year.  This year, I realized Bren is making great strides in dressing herself,  is toilet trained (but still needs help in the wiping department), almost able to write her name, knows her ABCs and 123s,  more comfortable in the water than ever, beginning to show signs of a talent and love for music, and just as loving as ever.

Being my youngest, I'm not as antsy for her to grow up and think I cherish her age a little more than I did with Kadyn.  I'm so proud of her for how easily she transitioned into preschool and being without me for part of her day.  I adore the way she shows me love through multiple hugs each day and how she always  feels compelled to express that love to me the most when I am wiping her, out of all times, LOL.  She is just such a blessing to us and we are so thankful God chose us to be her parents.  So here's a snip of her party, just the four of us.  At this age, having big lavish parties isn't a big deal. She just wants to feel special on her day, and that's just what we did.

Wearing her birthday crown her teacher made her and holding a mouse movie from her pet rat, Daisy.
Kadyn was happy to read her cards for her, but Bren was more interesting in ripping into the present.
A US puzzle.  Getting a head start on history lessons.
Big sister, ALWAYS willing to be of assistance opening presents.
Fashioning her entire Cinderella get up.  You can't tell but the dress lights up with sparkle lights.