Sunday, November 17, 2013

Who knew happening across this drawing would make me so happy?

Nicholas, who has been very reluctant to do anything that requires putting pencil to paper, did this on his own today. These are mobs (monsters) in his Minecraft game.

And this much detail, and WORDS on paper is awesome to me!

Granted, we'd given him his "focus-pill" (ADHD med) in case he got to go his friends house. (It is Saturday, and since this stuff costs so much and is so important for school we usually don't give it to him on the weekends.) I am so hopeful that this shows we are on the right track with his meds!

We are about to do another trial of a slightly different medication. 

Our first trial of another med was horrible. It could have been worse, he didn't have a scary reaction or anything dramatic, but it was still immediately apparent that it wasn't going to work. Basically Tom gave him the new pill and then Nick talked for about 6-8 hours straight. He was focused, but it was like he couldn't stop his mouth from going!

But this next one is the same underlying medication that we know works, but has a different time-release, so hopefully he will still have some left in the afternoons. Maybe this will help with homework (or HELL as I think of it).

I did make some accommodations with his teacher on homework. We can do the writing for him if needed (like taking dictation), we can address the concepts in a different way, and he can turn it in on Monday instead of Friday. That way we can do it mostly on the weekend while he is on a pill instead of trying to wrangle with him in the evenings during the week with no meds.

I feel really good that we are addressing his ADHD so early in his school years. His teacher this year sees a whole different kind of Nick than his first grade teacher did. In fact she really just has no concept of what he is like on no meds. It has taken her a while to see that he even has a "disability" and to start implementing some of his accommodations. Because he just isn't a "behavior problem" this year! Which is wonderful, but I am glad she finally got that she has to stay on top of him as far as turning in his homework and communication folder! These pills are magic, but not THAT magic.

Nick is having a much more successful year though. He is at the top of his class in reading and science/social studies, but still needs work on anything that includes pencil/paper (so not just "writing/spelling, but math and anything else with written work). 

But he doesn't get constant correction this year which is awesome for his self-esteem and love of school!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Everything but the kichen sink

This is pretty much what Nick is allergic to: everything but the kichen sink. And then only if the sink is mold and mildew free!

I met Tom and the kids down at the allergist's office where Nick did his scratch test. Tom ended up taking the girls to brunch while I stayed with Nick for the test itself. 

In order to help him stay calm and still I took photos so he could see what was going on back there. Here they are in order:

Before starting:

Labels on:

Pokes in:

Maybe 2-3 minutes in:

5 minutes in:

10 minutes in:

15 minutes done! Time to measure the hives:

Tonight, all they did was slather him up with some magic cream:

He's allergic to ALL grasses, ALL weeds, most molds/mildews, one of the two dust mites, all trees except one, and cats. His two biggest hives were actually not cats! They were both trees: pecan snd hickory. 

Not allergic to: 
Tomatoes (We were checking on a suspicion I'd had. That was the extra "T" in the lower left corner.)

The SLIT treatments aren't ready yet, but when they are we will sign him up. It's 100$/month but worth it to help him with all these allergies! This isn't allergy shots, instead they are sub-lingual (under the tongue) drops he does every day. We're very interested because Nick is a little dramatic about needles. (He was so good for the scratch test though!)

So back on the zyrtec and cyproheptad meds, in addition to singulair and qvar. And soon I'll pick up his ADHD med for fall too. Allergies, Asthma and ADHD. Nice alliteration, but a lot of meds. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rough day for the Motts

First came my surgical consult to start the ball rolling on getting a breast reduction someday. That actually went fine, although it lasted long enough to make me miss meeting Tom and the kids for...

Nick's pediatric urologist appointment. But honestly I figured it would be the same as before: take a peek, say he's fine, and done. 

Not so much. He's 7, there is no retraction at all. Circumcision will be in October or so. 

When I heard this I was on my way into the office after dropping off my car for inspection (it's a mandatory annual thing here). I ended up so busy at work I didn't have much time to fret about it. 

Came home, the inspection was fine, very nice, and we did the dinner, bath, bedtime thing.

And then Lily told me, "I swallowed a clip."

Holy crap, what?

She was very downcast about it, but stuck to her story. I couldn't understand what she'd swallowed so I asked her to show me another one. Turns out that one of the books in her room had two staples in the spine to hold in the pages. For whatever reason, she pulled one out, put it in her mouth and swallowed it. 

I called Tom upstairs and we questioned her calmly. I took out the other staple and bent it closed, opened, and halfway-opened to see if she could identify how it had looked. She said it looked like this:

Nick was freaking out by now, on the verge of crying, yelling and lecturing Lily, and Gabi for good measure, about swallowing foreign objects. He was pretty sure she was going to die any minute.

I called the pediatrician's office and they paged the doctor. This helped calm Nick a little bit and it seemed like a good idea even though I was sure they'd just tell me I was a worrywart.

The doc said he never had a case like this, where it was an open staple, and to take her to the ER at the children's hospital. 


I took her and had Tom stay home with the other kids. 

Showing off her bracelet:

After registration and xrays:

And the xray:

You can enlarge it to see the staple towards the right of the picture, in her stomach, in the shape Lily had reported!

The doc was glad it had reached the stomach and is pretty confident it will pass ok from here.

Home again now. We'll report this to the ped tomorrow. 

Now tomorrow is Nick's allergy test. That should be fun!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Forty For Real

For my birthday this year I decided to go ahead and turn 40. While I never lied about the year I was born, I have had a more flexible outlook on my "age". I learned this lesson from my grandmother, who I'm pretty sure had managed to muddy the water so much that no one knew exactly how old she was. She had the advantage of having her birth records literally go up in flames when the courthouse caught fire, so she could be as flexible as she wanted. 

She told me many times that age was just a number. So you might as well just pick one you like!

When I turned 27 I decided to go ahead and just be 29. Then I hung out at 29 till I was 35. Then I stayed at my calendrical age (What? That could totally be a word!) for two years and when turning 37 I just went ahead and claimed 39. 

See, that's the real secret, muddying the waters early. After a bit even I don't know my real age. Office forms at the doc? No problem! I just fill in my birthdate and tell them to do the math. (Just don't tell me!)

Anyway, I'd originally thought to stay 39 for a few more years, but that's so done, you know? Besides it's not every year you get to enter a whole new decade! So now I'm 40. And I'm owning it.

Now, for my birthday I thought a bit about what I wanted, and I told the kids that I wanted to "not yell" for my birthday. Now at first I thought this was a clever gift idea. You know, free, something they could deliver. But it got me thinking. Not yelling feels really good! I was in the mindset that it was my birthday and so I was getting my "not yelling" gift. But really it wasn't something the kids could necessarily give me. It was something I could give myself! And, if I so chose, I could give it to myself EVERY day!

So that became my new goal: not yelling. 

New decade, new goals, amiright?

And while I've slipped a few times, yesterday was a rough day, I have to say I have been doing a pretty stellar job of it. 

I was honest with the kids, telling them I was trying really hard to not lose my temper and yell. I figure showing them that Momma is human and has self-improvement goals she's working on is good for them, and it helps make me more accountable too. 

At one point Saturday morning, while Daddy was having a little sleep-in and I was doing dishes, the kids were being wild and going fighty-screamy-bonker-cakes in the livingroom, which drives me straigh up the nearest wall. It was close, and I had to sing a song to myself about keeping my power and staying serene for about 15 minutes, but I did it!

Here's hoping I can keep it up! I think we'll all be happier for it. Especially me.

Now, I made another goal on Wednesday this week. I'd been working on wrapping my head around it for a while, but I finally actually started. I know it's small, but give me a little credit for making the first baby steps here. 

I started exercising.

Don't get too excited now! It's only a 10 minute thing right now. My doc actually suggested only 5 minutes to start, but going around the block takes me about 10-12 minutes, so that's my baseline to start. 

We started with a walk around the block when I got home. Daddy was finishing up cooking dinner, so we threw on shoes and I took the kids around the block. We learned about walking on the sidewalk, walking against traffic when there is no sidewalk, looking both ways, which trees were crepe myrtles, and probably a few more things along the way. We walked it the first day. The second day we let Nick take his bike. 

We'll work up to the girls taking bikes maybe. 

We had two days where we went to a nearby park and I walked in circles around the playground while they played.

We had a rainy day when a walk wasn't going to happen, so instead I danced with the kids for 10 minutes. Whew! You'd never know I used to be able to continuously dance from 11pm to 2am in college! But I'm sure if I keep this up it will make a difference.

The only other thing I added in are push-up against the wall. Only 10 to start. I'm terrified of injuring myself. And for good reason between my twiness elbow in both arms from 2011-2012 and a bout of trochanteric bursitis that put me in a wheelchair for a week in 2009. But I figure if I start slow, but steady, then I can build up to more. 

The main thing, according to Dr K, is to make it a habit. Build in into my daily routine. So that's what I'm aiming for right now. Exercise has never EVER been a part of my routine. So this will take some doing. But I'm doing it! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Do you know the Muffin Woman?

Tonight I was going to make banana bread. I'd managed to save back two bananas from my fruit-loving kids long enough for them to ripen nicely finally! I knew if I waited another day they'd disappear though, so I had to act.

I was assembling my ingredients and found I had no brown sugar! Darn it! Tom makes great oatmeal and we compete over, er I mean SHARE the brown sugar. Well what's a girl to do? I surfed around a bit for other banana bread recipes, but then started thinking about what else I could make. 

We had a bunch of fresh cheeries in the fridge. Bananas and cherries go together right? I decided to try altering my tried and true muffin recipe to use about 1.5 cups of bananas and a half cup of chopped cherries.

Angela Mott's Marvalous Muffin Recipe:
Dry ingredients:
4 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
2 tblsp baking powder (not soda!!)
1 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:
2 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 c oil 

Mix your dry ingredients in a big bowl. 

Mix you wet ingredients in a small bowl. 

Make a well in the dry bowl and dump in the wet stuff, mix it just till moistened but lumpy.

Now for your options. Pick one:
Fold in 2 cups of fruit and then put batter into muffin tins. (Blueberries are my favorite! But tonight I did bananas and cherries.)
Put a soon of batter in each greased muffin cup and then put a little bit of preserves or jam in the middle and cover with more batter (I call these Surprise Muffins).

Either way, I usually spray my muffin tins with Pam, but I was out tonight. (Man, no brown sugar AND no Pam!) This recipe made 3 doz muffins (I have 3 different sized tins, one is old and quite small). So I greased one pan with Crisco. Sprayed one with Baker's Joy, and spayed muffin cups with Bakers joy in the third tin. (Right to left in the image.)

Bake for about 25-30 min at 400. Usually I start checking about 20 minutes just in case.

Let cool on wire racks if you have them, otherwise just put them on plates or in a basket.

I took photos as I went tonight. I think these cherry banana muffins turned out great! Poor Tom was asleep, but he'll have a surprise in the morning! Maybe I'll take some to work to share too. 36 is a LOT of muffins!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'm back, and I'm pissed off

So what does it take to get me to do a blog post? Apparently just an incredibly ignorant suggestion from a Republican (surprise!) that we discontinue compulsory education.

First of all, I don't usually go off on a tangent without at least trying to see both sides of the issue and really thinking my thoughts all the way through so that I can lay out a solid arguement. But this really has me pissed off. 

I don't think it's even partially correct to suggest that parents don't care about their child's education. I taught in a low SES school  (something like 98% free/reduced lunches) for two years. Racially it was primarily African-American (over 80% I'd say). I taught the toughest kids in that school my first year. (Self-contained ESE my first year and 1st grade my second year.) It was an "F" school (graded in Florida by the FCAT testing under NCLB). And every single one of my students' parents cared. Deeply. Some were working 3 jobs as a single parent to try and make ends meet, and so yes, they weren't able to help them with homework every day, but they all cared a great deal about their child's education. 

They knew very well that their children's only chance to lift themselves out of poverty was to do well in school. But getting them to and from school, outfitting them for school, trying to help with homework and projects, all while also trying to keep their family safe and provide food, clothing, shelter and if they're lucky, medical care, it is a hell of a lot to try and manage. I do not blame parents one bit for expecting schools and teachers to manage the education of their kids while they cover the kids' needs at home as best as they can. 

Passing poor families off as 'not caring about their children's education' is a low, innacurate blow and an attempt to blame the poor for their own plight. And trying to pull the rug out from inderneath them by taking away public education doesn't just hurt the kids who would not be attending, but also society as a whole. A democracy cannot exist without an educated populace. 

I can't even believe an American would suggest such a thing. I suppose the only explanation that makes sense is to ask yourself: who benefits by leaving poor and minority people uneducated? The wealthy and politically powerful. That's who.

Don't even try to put the blame on the failure of educational system on the parents. And placing blame on teachers is only marginally less abhorrent. Instead try placing the blame exactly where it lies: on the lack of funding and support from government. You wanted a strong military? You pumped trillions of dollars into it. You want a strong educational system? So you cut education spending, threaten teachers with unfunded mandates based on unreliable, unauthentic assessments, and cripple schools from every direction? Nope, not going to work.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Onward and Upward!

It's official, we have a second grader in the house!

This was a big year for Nick. 

It was the year he went from knowing his letters and numbers to reading real words and doing 2 digit addition and subtraction. From recognizing a few coins to counting his money. From struggling with his newly diagnosed ADHD to deciding on his own to explore the possibility of a medicine, and finding a medicine that makes him (in his own words) "feel confident" at school. (That was so great to hear!) 

And through all this we expanded his literary repetoire from Dr. Seuss and picture books to reading Harry Potter books 1-3, Magic Treehouse books 1-5, and the first Boxcar Children book, not to mention all the non-fiction books he checks out on animals, insects, earth science, astronomy and physics! (I'm learning a lot at bedtime I can tell you!)

We still have so much to do and learn, but I've always felt first grade was a pivotal year for learning, and it's been so awesome to be able to watch Nick go through it and succeed. We were so blessed to have a first grade teacher who really appreciated Nick for his curiosity, attention to detail (even though not necessarily the details of the lesson!), and sweet nature. Not only was she willing to put in the extra that Nick needed, she really seemed to genuinely "like" him, which, I'm telling you as a former teacher, is vital and not always easy!

Thanks Ms R and Ms K for guiding Nick through 1st grade!

And congratulations Nick on a job very well done!

Lily loving on her big brother at dinner. He gets a lot of this around here. 

P.S. And yes, thank God we have a few months of no homework!! Holy Cow! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hair Repair

(This post was written on my phone a while ago, but apparently didn't publish. So I just published it today.)

Tom was sick today so I did the SAHM thing for a change.

This is not my gift. Well it IS a gift I give Tom occasionally, but like today I usually make him be really sick before he gets it. Poor guy.

Anyway, so what to do on a rainy day?

We watched a bunch of episodes of Justice League and Ultimate Spiderman, and two episodes of "Ponia" (what they call My Little Pony because the intro song says "My Little Pony, ahhhhh") before I figured we needed to escape.

So since their sister-inflicted "haircuts" were really starting to bug me, we went to the salon to get our hair done right!

Lily is still "long," but only relatively speaking. They love their hair though, Gabi absolutely loves her "Princess Di" cut in particular!

We'd been looking at pictures of haircuts on my phone for a few days and they picked these, so they are both happy. And no longer lopsided. Which makes me happy.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Remember diaries? Yeah, it's just like that.

I remember having a diary as a kid. It had lavender pages and a little lock with two keys. Honestly it might still be around here somewhere.

I remember also how I would have the very best intentions. I'd think of how great it would be to look back in my diary in future years and see what I had been doing and thinking long ago. Or how funny it would be to look back and read to my sister how she'd annoyed me at some date in the past. (I do believe I got that idea from a Sunday Lockhorns cartoon.)

But inevitably there would be one or two entries and then you'd see weeks, months, or years go by. And that entry would always start "Dear diary,I'm so sorry I haven't written in so long..." And then I'd feel obligated to try and catch up on the intervening time and end up with a sore hand from writing so much.

It's a lot like blogging really. And not a lot has changed it seems. I imagine I have several posts that start out with something similar.

Well I haven't posted since January, which is just nuts. But no apologies. And no effort to catch things up. There is just too much! I have been posting on Facebook though because that's what happens when you make posting photos easy! I still haven't found an easy fast way to post pics from my phone to my photobucket and blog yet. Quite annoying.

I'm heading off to a 3 day business trip tomorrow. Going to PA for the first time. Then spending a good chunk of next weekend on a workshop with my colleagues. So this weekend I tried to get in a lot of cuddles and loving with the kids and give Tom some chances to get out of the house.

The girls are learning to play games with me. We've played Memory, Go Fish, Hi Ho Cherry-O, and Candyland so far.

We also went to our public library today so Nick could read to some visiting therapy dogs there (and Gabi and Lily got in on it too.) And Nick and Gabi both are really into legos right now.

Here's a few pics, which annoyingly only will post at the end and in a totally random order, but we do what we can!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Burning down the house

Tom noticed after Christmas that something weird was going on with his ear. (Like being-able-to-blow-air-through-it kind of weird.) But he resisted my "get thee to a doctor" advice until it started really hurting January 1st. (Because what better day to start meeting your deductible?)

Turns out he has a raging ear infection and a perforated eardrum. Surprise!

He got an antibiotic and Lortab from urgent care Tuesday the 3rd and so hopefully will be feeling better soon. I ended up coming home at luch Wednesday to take over so Tom could rest. Apparently those inner ear thingies that I will call dizzy-tubes (because I am too tired to care enough to look them up) are being messed with so he's feeling dizzy and nauseated all the time right now. (So basically he's getting to experience morning sickness.)

Anyway, I tend to be a big old meanie whenever Tom is sick because I expect him to push through it like I do. (Of course this actually doesn't help me since I usually just end up sick for weeks or occasionally in the hospital, but it's how I roll.) So I get all cranky-pants when he IM's me to please come home.

I figured this time that a perforated eardrum qualified him as 'sick enough for a little sympathy' and came home.

Well first thing I find are the girls dressed up as a ballerina and a lion, vegging out to an iphone app and PBS. Too cute!

Then I send Tom to bed and make the girls some macaroni and cheese for lunch.

While I'm boiling the water, Gabi the lion wants to help. I tell her she can't be near the stove though so she pulls up to the only counterspace left, in front of the microwave and the toaster.

She's playing with a twist-tie and chip-clip magnets. She tries pushing down the toaster lever but I jump on her about it. I drain the pasta and start prepping the "cheese" part of lunch when I hear the microwave start up and just about immediately hear snapping noises as I swing around.

And see a fire in the microwave! We're not talking sparks, we're talking flames.

I snatched Gabi from the stepstool and turned off the microwave. The fire went out immediately thank goodness. She had put the magnetic chip clips in the microwave and turned it on. It literally took only 3 seconds to ignite.

After I'd calmed down sufficiently I really enjoyed being able to casually mention to Tom that I'd prevented the girls from burning down the house. Literally.

Guess it's a good thing I came home to watch them instead of insisting he could just lie on the sofa for horizontal parenting.