Monday, December 31, 2012

My word for 2013

  I stopped setting new year resolutions for myself probably two years ago.  Let's face it- they lasted through January but as soon as that Valentine's candy hit the shelves, resolutions to eat healthier and exercise weren't held.  Then I would just feel ashamed of my lack of will power and I don't want to feel that way.

  I have found that when dealing with myself, the best way to go, and this rings true for my children as well, is to not tell myself all the things I can no longer do, but to tell myself the things to add to my life.  Eat healthier as opposed to no junk food.  Walk more instead of a strict exercise regime.  In 2012 I have certainly made some improvements to our lives and health- due to necessity and not just wanting to.

  I've been pregnant most of the year.  Incorporated more healthy choices and ingredients into our diets.  Dylan got sick and has endured weekly steroid treatments since October.  That put a strain on our family and our relationship.  Something I haven't shared with you guys is that Dylan is not yet done with his steroid treatments.  The day after Christmas, I received a phone call from Infusion Partners asking me if I would accept delivery for the new order and I told them I needed to check with the doctor because Dylan was done.  Turns out, Dylan's doctor had ordered more treatments through February (the next time we visit him).  I was extremely upset that day and am still having trouble digesting it.  It hurt me because nobody told me that Dylan couldn't just stop them, he had to be tapered off of them.  He now takes half the dose he was taking, but still, some mental preparations would have been nice.

  I've decided to pick one word to embrace during 2013.  That word is Patience.

  Wildboy #4 will be here a week into 2013 and I will need to practice a lot of patience in everything.  Patience with the fact that the house may just have to be strewed, the dishes in the sink, the projects left unfinished and homeschooling may operate best during nap times.  We'll get through this, and with a little patience, we'll be better for it.  Steroids be damned.

  Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year and much awesomeness to come in 2013. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Taking a break, end of the year ramblings.

  Taking a moment to stop by here and say a few words.  I'm taking a little break from blogging and social media.  Well, not a complete break from social media, but certainly reduced.  In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, I feel it is necessary.  I am extremely empathetic with the parents that lost their children Friday.  So much so that I was crying while watching the news coverage.  My children were playing in the house, as naive as can be, under my mama wing... while twenty sets of parents were finding out that they wouldn't be tucking their kids in to bed that night.. or ever again.  One little boy, named Dylan was born three days after Hayden.  I still have my 6 year old... but they don't.  That pain of knowing how that would hurt me still sends sharp pains up my spine.  This world can be so scary, and getting so caught up in it will drag us right down.  All the news coverage, the interviews with the children, the gun control and mental health care arguments, I just can't read or hear it anymore.  I will pray and light candles for the victims and their families and then I need to get back to mine.  I haven't told my children about what happened.  Because we homeschool, I don't feel like I need to tell them.  Let them be naive as long as they can.  Isn't that what childhood is all about?  Children should feel safe as long as possible, this scary world will creep in soon enough.

  The Holidays are upon us!  My kids are so excited.  We are baking cookies and making crafts and homeschooling and planning... I just love this time of year.  Christmas is one week from today.  Dylan will receive his last steroid treatment tomorrow at 1pm (dear god please let it be the last one) and I am looking forward to it being behind us.  I'm thinking about baking him a cake and writing on it "we survived steroids! Yay!"   Ha Ha!!  Probably won't do that, but certainly we need to mark this end to a season.  It's been twelve long weeks that have made us stronger and strained our relationship some.  I'm hoping as the 'roids leave his body, the rage will too.  Excited about getting my Dylan back.  (I'm mostly exaggerating, but when you take steroids they can make you mean and Dylan certainly gets that side effect and it is hard on a family to have one child going through that- and it's something he can't help- he's not a mean child, but the steroids don't bring out the best in him so we are happily kissing them goodbye.) 

  We'll have a new Wildboy in 3 weeks! I am most excited about that.  I can't wait to hold him and smell him and just have him out of my body, LOL.  Excited about nursing again too.  I need to start washing his clothes and getting those sorts of things in order so I guess I'll be tending to that some as well.  Normally I would have done that by now, but I have mandatory laundry to do which can overshadow "nesting" laundry.  Especially when it's for 5 people. 

  I probably won't post here again until Wesley is here.  Unless something super awesome amazing happens. 

  So until then, Happy Holiday from the Brunney family.  Hold your loved ones tight and enjoy the season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The quilt that took a year to finish.

   Yesterday, I finished a quilt that has been a year in the making.  It felt great to get it done, and I felt kind of stupid for dragging it out so long.

  I started on it last December, made the face of the quilt in one day.  I added the batting the next day.  Then I folded it up and set it aside until I put the back on it. 

  Christmas came and went.  The quilt had no back.  Poor quilt.

  Seasons came and went. Spring, Summer.... fall.  I drug it out of the closet late November so that it would jar my mind to put a back on it.  I got a sheet to use for the back from the thrift store.  The quilt sat there and sat there. 

 Until last night. I laid that sucker out on the floor, cut the sheet to fit the back of the quilt plus 2 inches wider to bind it with the backing (super easy trick I learned from Pinterest).  Pinned it all up and in 30 minutes the quilt was done. 

  It's so fluffy and warm.  It's throw sized, not bed sized so it will stay on our couch this Holiday season. 

  Don't you hate dragging out projects like that?

P.S.  Remember my cousin Stephanie and her daughter Addie that had kidney transplants?  Well today is her husband Al and their sons turn to transplant!  I know I'm late to ask for prayers and well wishes, but if you could keep them in your thoughts today while they are undergoing surgery and recovering, it would be appreciated.  Here is a link to her blog Medicines, Miracles and Madness.  You can read all about it there and catch up on their story. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The kids are alright.

  I know, there was some song or movie with that title.  I've never heard/seen it, just heard people make references to it.  So here I am, blindly refering to something I know nothing about.

  But it came to mind today as I was asked about every individual member of my family, and some others that aren't my family, if they were alright (genetically).

  And, they're alright.  The kids are alright.

  Today we met Dr. B (we'll call him that).  Dylan's genetics doctor.  We went in to that doctors office not knowing what to expect, only knowing that we were going to be pretty upset if this was just a "meet the doc" type of appointment.  You know, the ones where they just lay out a plan of action but don't actually start it.  You see, I have been at my grandmothers house since Thursday, only having returned to my whole family this afternoon.  We (my mother, Dylan and I) stayed so long so that we would not have to make 3 trips in a week and a half.  One for turkey day, for the appt, and then for my baby shower this Saturday (!!!!!!!!).  If we had just been there for a plan of action lay out, we would have felt.... silly.  That's putting it lightly.

  Turns out Dr. B had not had the chance to look over Dylan's chart, so he knew very little about Dylan aside from what he and Dr. Veda had discussed in passing.  So we relived Dylan's entire life, age by age, milestone by milestone......born on his due date, sat at 7 months, walked at 11 months, didn't speak a word until 2.5 yrs.  That kind of stuff.  Then we talked about the hard stuff, like Dylan's "episodes" (hospitalizations) and things that lead up to them.  We talked about Autism and how close he came to a diagnosis, and he seemed to sort of laugh at that Child Psychiatrist that would see all the symptoms of it, have a child come 2 pts away on the C.A.R.S (childhood autism rating scale) evaluation and still send you home saying "what you have is a moody irritable child, not an autistic child" (oh, yes she did.).  So Dylan's chart still says he is Autistic, even though my mama heart has wanted that diagnosis at times, mourned that he didn't get it (imagine the therapies that would have been available to my child with that diagnosis and who knows where we would be, perhaps someplace better?), and promptly put on my big girl panties and moved on.  It will follow us around, mocking us.

  Sparing most of the mumbo jumbo doctor talk, and the horrible experience of "let me take a look at him", we learned that a low carb/ low sugar diet may work for Dylan and it may not.  It's not a sure thing, it never has been, it's only been shown to "help" and it may not even help Dylan at all.  His spinal fluid has not consistently shown elevated levels of that enzyme.  The only thing positive he said about it, was that he has seen people with Dylan's enzyme issues do very well with low glucose.  And I'm a little fuzzy on that, I was squawling. 

  So despite my best efforts to make Dylan less susceptible to brain inflammation, it may not do a single ounce of good.  I can keep him in a low stress environment, low carb/sugar, away from sick people, unnecessary vaccinations and he can still fall ill... which I would of course blame myself for not trying hard enough to do right for him.  What's a mother to do?  Try and try anyways?  Just try to make life as normal as possible for him?  Sit around and wait for the next time our lives turn upside down?

  I guess that's all I can do.

  So for now, we had more blood drawn.  We'll know more in March.  And we left wounded. 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Low Carb Friday

  Two kitchen wins in one week?!  It happened!

  I made a perfect low carb chocolate chip cookie.  It. Was. Divine.  It's made with Almond flour!

The ingredients:  I can't supply a great recipe because I was winging it mostly, but I ground some almonds in the food processor and got about 1 and 2/3 a cup of almond flour. 1/4 cup oil, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt.  2 TB honey, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp guar gum (thickener and binding agent) and around 3/4 cup of sugar free chocolate chips.  Super delish and the kids loved them!

  Like I said, they were delicious and chewy, and the kids loved them!

  I also made grain free, yeast free bread.  It makes a short loaf, but it's bread just the same.  Here is the Recipe

I made grilled cheese with it last night and french toast this morning. Let's just say I am enjoying some old favorites once again :)  This bread is much more expensive to make than regular bread, but there's no kneading involved and no rising so I'd say it's an even trade. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


  I am full fledged in the Christmas spirit!  Quite early this year, but I wish the Christmas season lasted longer than a month.  For everything that goes on, it certainly should.  I'm addicted to listening to the Traditional Holidays channel on my tv (I have Dish network, it's channel 73 if you are interested).  It makes me want to drink hot cocoa all day and make cookies...

  Anyways, We have 3 kids, and Christmas can get expensive for Santa Claus.  So in the past 2 years I have developed a knack for the crafty and I have begun making many of the gifts we give, all year round.  Saves a lot of money, and it's an excuse to craft.  I have plans for several homemade gifts for the kids this year and I have already begun making them!


  The boys get allowance every week pending they do their chores and they need new wallets.  These aren't the wallets they will be receiving, these are extras I made, and I would love to make one for your kid(s) at about $4 each! 

 Dylan's mail man attire


Dylan loves to play mailman and write or draw on papers and fold them up and bring me my "mail".  So in the spirit of pretend play, he gets his own mail set. The felt envelopes open up to hold papers.  The messenger bag was made from a pair of thrifted brown pants.

  Super hero masks and capes.

  Capes not pictured because I haven't actually sewn them all yet.  This is the red one and it will have a matching Spiderman cape.  There will be a black mask with matching batman cape and a blue mask with matching Captain America cape.  (or as Jude calls him Ca' 'Merica)

  We are making them other gifts that I would rather wait to share when they are made because they are awesome... Making is so much fun!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Low Carb Friday

  So, in my quest to feed my family low carb snacks and meals I am absolutely trying to find low carb low sugar substitutions for every day goodness.

  Today's win was a chocolate milkshake!!  Which actually wasn't a milkshake at all.  It was made with yogurt and an Atkins vanilla protein shake (1 carb and 1 gram of sugar).  I used the Atkins shake because I was out of milk... I won't normally use shakes to make this, but since I did, I did not have to add sweetener like I would have if it was just made with milk.  It was a hit with the boys, so here is the recipe:

  Low carb, Low sugar chocolate shake

  1 vanilla Atkins protein shake or 1/2-1 cup of milk
  1/8 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  2 TB sugarfree chocolate syrup
  1 packet of stevia, or equal, splenda.. whatever your desire
  1/2 cup plain yogurt (preferably home made, but store bought is fine. It's all about probiotics)

Add all the ingredients in your blender and blend until combined.  You can add ice to make it a frozen treat.  I did not because I am out of ice too (ice maker is broken so we buy ice)

  If you are using plain milk instead of the atkins shake, add more sweetener to taste.

Note to all you Atkins dieters that know that yogurt is not low carb:

Homemade yogurt that is strained exceptionally well is relatively low carb.  The whey that is removed in the straining process contains the majority of the carbs... I've researched it.  1 serving of homemade yogurt strained to ridiculous thickness has around 8 carbs. Considering the recipe has 9 carbs in it and split between 3 boys, it's low carb. 

Happy Friday and have a delicious weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

and then, there was reassurance

A superhero, indeed.

  Hayden woke up today and suddenly could read.  I mean, he could read before, but he wasn't retaining words very well and would have to sometimes sound out everything including sight words he already knows.  That was really messing with his reading comprehension so often I would read what he had just read back to him so that he could follow the story.  He would often get bored with the story and just not want to read it because it was overstimulating.  I don't suspect dyslexia or any other attention or learning problems with Hayden, but he did have touches of issues in some places that would make you consider it now and then.  He is 6 and 1/2 years old. 

  (I often forget that Hayden is only 6 and 1/2.  He is exceptionally tall for his age and very independent. He can work most electronics without assistance, he teaches me things sometimes, lol.  He helps me with Jude so much and even helps Dylan, especially when his shoes are on the wrong feet or his clothes are on backwards.  I always tell people it seems like Hayden should be like, 9 or 10 or something.)

  I decided last week that we were done with phonics worksheets and all that busy work.  My kids know the letters, know the sounds they make, know about consonant blends and long and short vowels... so all there is left to do is just read. Read everyday.  Read everything.  So I took them to the library and they picked out readers that contained stories that they were interested in.  Hayden got a Spiderman book and Dylan a Thomas book.  Dylan still didn't care much about his, but Hayden!  Hayden wanted to read me that book all day.  He even took it with us to Jackson for Dylan's appointment.  It was like, suddenly, when the subject matter was interesting, rather than generic sentences off of worksheets and random short stories, the words would come together and make sense.  Today he has read me 4 chapters out of a book we got from the library.  It is an early reader, but there are many words in it that he doesn't know, and he is sounding them out if he doesn't know them and following along awesomely.  It's like a light went off in his head or something.

  I'm coming to realize that school doesn't have to mean busy work and lessons and all of that.  My kids are learning how to read... and HOLY CRAP, I taught them. 

  Lately I've been feeling like I just don't know what I'm doing anymore.  The decision to lessen the worksheet load and learn by real life wasn't easy for me to come to.  What about what everyone will think, when they know my kids don't do pen and paper school work like public school kids do?  Well, who cares.  My kids are reading, telling time (Hayden consistently correctly and Dylan sometimes switches the hands around, but he has the right idea) and counting money... like they should be doing.  They aren't doing worksheets about it, we are using real money.  We learned to skip count with M&Ms.  And we read, read, read, read every single day. 

  And today, I realized that in fact, I am doing a pretty good job.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Just another manic Monday.

  Today I find myself in a very mellow, almost wounded mood.  My spirit is a bit sunk in.  I'm discouraged, uncertain and feeling a bit raw and vulnerable. 

   I'm writing this just minutes after making a chocolate avocado mousse for the wildboys and they were quite verbal about how they did not like it.  I liked it.  Perhaps it was too sweet.  Perhaps I should use cocoa powder instead of the bakers cocoa blocks that you melt.  My avocado did not "whip" in the food processor. Instead, it pureed, which gave the pudding a grainy texture.  Much to the wildboys displeasure.

  It frustrates me to no end to try out new recipes using alternative ingredients and have the whole thing flunk.  I just want to make better choices for my family and get the nutrients and vitamins in them and take the bad stuff out.  Failed recipes are a waste of time, money and they generate dishes in the sink. They would love it if I whipped up a batch of instant pudding and slapped that in front of them, but I wanted them to eat the healthy fats found in avocado!

  We saw Dr. Veda Friday.  The visit went well except he asked me how I was feeding Dylan, to which I responded truthfully that he is mostly gluten free, but it's hard to consistently cook/feed him that way so it's about 50/50 right now.  He told us that at Dylan's last lumbar puncture, his spinal fluid showed elevated levels of PDH.  PDH is an enzyme that processes the carbs that we eat.  With correct levels, our bodies can process carbohydrates normally.  With elevated levels, you would have to restrict carbohydrates and sugar. 

   I just don't know a lot about this right now.  I've been reading about it some, but honestly, it's not easy to understand.  If I had a PhD, I probably could.  But even my advanced google skills are failing me.  All I know, until we see the genetics doctor after Thanksgiving, is that Dylan needs to eat low carb/low sugar/no sugar.  That isn't even confirmed that he has something that would need those restrictions, not until genetics confirms it.  But once confirmed, Dylan will have to eat that way probably the rest of his life... or continue getting sick.  Sounds like an "easy" fix, doesn't it? Well, lots of things sound easy, but just aren't that simple.  Dylan is 8 years old.  He has enjoyed a wide variety of healthy and junk food in his 8 years.  Just suddenly saying, "Hey Dylan, you know all those crackers and sandwiches and candy and cakes that you like?  Well, you can't have them anymore. Sorry, dude." Trust me, I know what it's like to have restricted eating and being faced with events and family gatherings where there is maybe one thing there I can eat.  It's extremely hard and sometimes makes me cry.  And I'm 27 years old!  Then, what about the other wildboys?  Hayden and Jude won't be allowed to eat those types of foods around Dylan, as we won't keep them in the house.  So will they develop some kind of complex about having to eat yucky stuff because of Dylan?

   Obviously I'm still in the freak out stage. 

   Dylan is a big struggle in my life, and I've noticed he takes up a lot of my blog.  I do have 2 other kids that are doted upon equally, but Dylan just takes up so much of my brain.  I'm struggling to teach him to read, to feed him correctly... and honestly, he hasn't been very nice lately.  Steroids don't bring out the best in anybody, and if your child is taking them, it won't bring out the best in you.  I know he's just a kid, and doesn't mean to be rude...well- he does mean to be rude, but I know it's not coming from a hateful place in his heart, it's just the 'roid rage talking.  But it's so hard to be patient with.

   I know that his steroid treatments won't last forever (7 more weeks, god speed!!!!!!!!!!!) and one day we'll fall into a nice groove of eating well and being nice again.  But until then... Boo.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 weeks!!

The pictures in the green shirt are from today, after my doctor appointment and the one in the top right corner is my 30 week shot when I was pregnant with Jude.  I feel like I was much bigger with Jude, but I was at least 30 lbs heavier so maybe that explains it.. Also, Jude was breech the whole time which made my stomach poke out more and this youngin' has turned head down already, which is nice of him.  Doesn't matter though, Jude broke the mold so Wesley will have to come via c-section as well.  Aren't brothers nice?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hey, Kids! Go play in the road!

  Which is exactly what they get to do sometimes.  With supervision from both parents, of course.  Our road is generally only frequented by people that live on it so it's ok.

  They enjoy it so much, and have so much fun!

That's a game face right there!

My biggest wildboy :)

and finally, Jude rode his tricycle and used the pedals for the first time yesterday!
He was so tickled, he was giggling the whole time!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Celebrate 8

  Over the weekend, we had a Dylan's Halloween Birthday party.  Dylan turned 8 the 1st of October but with his late September illness we decided to wait until things settled down at home before we threw him a party- a decision I feel was the best.  I can't believe how great the party turned out, I think if Dylan wants, we will have a Halloween birthday party for him every year!

  I made all kinds of treats and goodies.  Old fashioned popcorn balls, cinnamon sugar popcorn (I bought a 24 bag container of popcorn, I had to use it all up!), tootsie pop ghosts and cake mix cookies.  A wonderful friend of mine brought monster cupcakes and they were a hit!  There was candy corn and candy bags... it was a diabetics nightmare.

  We played a game where if you guessed how many candy corn were in a container that we purchased, you won the container with the candy inside.  That turned out to be a pretty fun thing. 

  My favorite, and arguably, probably everybody's favorite, was when we played a game where we tied doughnuts to our clothes line and the participants had to race to eat them with no hands!  That was the best laugh!  I didn't realize how difficult it was, probably too difficult for the younger crew, but they enjoyed jerking theirs off the line and having at it!  The older school aged kids gave it their best, and did pretty well if I do say so!

  Here are some picture highlights.. there were many other kodak moments, but I was very much in the moment so this is all I got!

My popcorn balls.  Aren't they pretty?

getting everything set up

The kids lining up.  Also being told by their parents that they could eat the doughnut but not with their hands.  Confusion ensued momentarily, but with humor.

Ready, Set,... Go!

Laken was the winner!

The cake was awesome.  Because I didn't make it.

Thomas the train!

Thank you to everybody that came and helped.  It was so much fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Picasso!

 we made a book featuring several of your paintings.

we colored some of your paintings.

We are amateurs!

Happy Birthday Picasso!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts for Wednesday.

Cute little lizard

boys that homeschool each other

  Wednesdays are the toughest days of the week for us.  Home health comes and does Dylan's treatment and he hasn't always been compliant.  This week and last week however, I have allowed him to watch Netflix on my Kindle while he gets his medicine and he has been delightful.  As long as that novelty doesn't wear off, I think we've found our happy place.  8 more weeks to go.

  Homeschool wasn't a success today.  Like most things in life, there are good days and bad days.  There are certain factors that contribute to good days, such as doing our school work before lunch.  There are certain factors that can make it a bad day, such as doing it after lunch, after a child has begun watching television, if we do homeschool together or individually or even if the sun is shining.  I'm learning to take a deep breath and pick back up where we left off tomorrow... even though my completely controlling personality wants everything to be just so.  Sometimes if I take a step back and let them actually learn instead of  be taught, if I watch them closely, they are learning it.  Maybe they aren't pencil and paper learners.  Perhaps wildboy life is a little more hands on.

  I've got my eye on a curriculum that I think will fit Dylan perfectly.  Stevenson Learning Skills is a reading curriculum that is directed at children that are "differently-abled" at learning.  I think, when it comes to Dylan, I've got a big ole case of dyslexia on my hands.  I've read a lot of great reviews about this curriculum so I think I wanna give it a try.

  Too bad Thomas the Train doesn't make Homeschool curriculum.

Monday, October 22, 2012

28 weeks and counting.

(obviously I didn't edit this picture.  Or clean my room.)

28 WEEKS!!!

  I keep telling myself that if I can just make it at least 11 more weeks, I'll have Wesley out of me and in my arms and everything will go back to normal (or as normal as life can be with a newborn).  I'm no stranger to pregnancy, but this one has been a little different.

  I have Candida, and it's made being pregnant challenging.  The link I provided will inform you of what Candida is and how it's treated and all the questions you might have.  Rather than go into great detail of my journey with it (which I have in a post saved to my drafts and I have decided not to post it unless you guys want me to, but it's a doozy) I'll just provide you with the resource to read about it.  

  I have eating challenges that I have to deal with this time and it makes me sad sometimes.  I don't eat wheat or sugar so I can't indulge in a lot of the thing pregnant women tend to indulge in like ice cream or cinnamon rolls.  I miss them dearly, but honestly my body is better without those foods.  I am a lot more clear headed, I never get headaches or any aches and pains, really, and my tummy is happy.  Plus I've dropped a dress size while pregnant, which is something I never thought possible.  The pants I'm wearing in this picture?  They aren't even maternity pants.  But they're a size to big so they fit.

  Hopefully, the next 11 weeks will fly by due to the holiday season.  That's usually how this time of year goes any other time.  


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

what am I even doing here?

  Needless to say, life has completely turned itself upside down and inside out since I last posted here. A quick review of the current events:

 I'm 7 months pregnant with my 4th son.

 I'm homeschooling Hayden. Seriously. And I love every minute of it.

 Dylan got sick again. 2.5 years of wellness ended late September when Dylan began to slightly slur his words. Dylan spent a week in the hospital and now receives weekly steroid infusions through a chemo port. It's the hardest part of the week. We are both normally in tears at some point.

 I'm homeschooling Dylan. Seriously. And I love every minute of it. (he does too!)

 We have switched from a 50/50 diet of processed vs. homemade food to an 80/20 diet of processed vs. homemade food. The 80% is homemade, gluten free, organic as much as possible food. I have to cook 3 times a day now which is a lot more than I would like, but it makes me feel good that my family is eating a diet that nourishes and heals their bodies. So that keeps me going.

 So as you have read, things are a lot different here. I don't sew and create as much because I simply don't have as much time for that. I can't let housework go too much, because if I leave yesterday's messes for today, today is a lot harder. But sometimes in the afternoon I find a little crafting time while all the wildboys are out in the yard playing, and it really feeds my soul. I'm going to be finding a bit more time for it in the coming months as the holidays are nearing!

 Dylan. Dylan has been sick with ADEM 6 times in the last 4 years. He almost completely recovers every time and we are extremely fortunate for that. He has residual weakness in his hands which makes things like buttoning his pants, opening the van door and tying shoes a lot harder for him but other than that he is fine. He does also have some cognitive delays which he had before he got sick so it is hard to say that the ADEM impacted it.

 I decided to homeschool Dylan along with Hayden because I feel like Dylan would benefit from some major life changes. We had all thought that Dylan would never get sick again, that maybe he grew out of it because it had been so long since the last episode. It just shows that his little body is still so hindered by whatever is causing it. Whether it be heavy metal overload (things such as lead and mercury) or food intolerances or some rare genetic disease or maybe stress and environmental triggers. Whatever it may be, I need to lessen that for him to the best of my ability.

 While homeschooling, Dylan will not be at as much risk for catching "common" childhood illnesses that can trigger brain inflammation. Also, I can give Dylan the one on one focus I believe that he needs. He can work at his own pace instead of the pace the public school system has provided. (for the record, I am not against public schooling for all kids, just mine.)

 How is Dylan doing with homeschool? Great!! He is reading (seriously, reading!) short stories and learning to skip count and we are in our second week of our telling time unit. So far, they can tell you what time it is as long as it's on the hour, a quarter past the hour or half past the hour, lol. We just learned to count by 5's so 5 minute intervals of time will come soon, after we learn a quarter til the hour. That is certainly not all they have learned, just what we are working on this week. I do a bit of unschooling as well, if there is a particular topic of interest we will learn about it in a unit form, or as close to a unit that I can make of it. It's all about focusing on their interests as much as 1st grade curriculum.

 I really enjoy homeschooling my kids. It's a lot of responsibility. That paired with cooking 3 meals a day, potty training Jude (omg he's 2.5 years old, where has time gone?) and keeping the house clean, life is just much more involved now. And honestly, I like it better this way. There is no sitting back watching mindless television for me anymore ( Wife Swap, Weather Channel and any reality television show on MTV, I miss you dearly) I'm researching food information, home remedies and recipes.

 Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the information I pump into my brain. My husband asked me on Saturday why I don't want to learn how to play Magic: The Gathering, the card game that he is enjoying playing with his friends as of recent. I just burst into tears. The look on his face was a bit like a deer caught in headlight, Ha. I just can't handle anymore things right now. I can't put anything else in my brain unless it is extremely interesting. I can't play Magic and not cook supper or tend the the boys, or either I can, and I need to just relax and let things happen. Messes will be there upon my return, homeschool will figure itself out, and I am 7 months pregnant, I need to give myself a break.... I just can't at the expense of what I feel is right for my kids. But there's a balance, it's just not my strong suit.

 If you have read all the way down this far, hey, thanks. I needed to dump my brain out a bit before I jump in the shower and head to walmart. I need to remember to buy the ingredients for homemade fabric softener... let's hope I don't forget.

 Until next time,


Thursday, March 15, 2012


I think it's obvious that I haven't been sharing here as much lately. That's sort of just how I am. It ebbs and flows, comes and goes. I may have a million things to talk and share about, but it never seems to come out the way I intend.

I've been trying to keep busy the past few days. I've been restless. Every now and then I get that way. Tired of staying at home with the kids, wanting to do more with my life, but not wanting to sacrifice my ability to be here for my children for self-serving reasons. I worked once. I had a job at a department store for a little over a year. I quit working there when Dylan got sick, so I could stay home and take care of him.. my role as a mother changed alot after that. I was no longer just here to watch over them and steer them in the right direction, I was also googling the mess out of everything, trying to find ways to get my boy better and how to prevent it from happening again. That's when my approach to a more non-toxic, natural lifestyle came about. I am thankful that things went the way they did in that respect, but sometimes I wish I had someplace to be everyday, even though I know that deep down in my heart, the only place I wanna be is here.

It makes my heart sink down into my stomach to think of putting Jude in daycare and the older boys in an afterschool program so that I can go to work.

"I've seen the village, and I don't want it raising my kids." - some awesome quote I read on Pinterest.

Staying home can be lonely, though. I am an introvert. I balk at the thought of leaving the house for no good reason, and sometimes for good reasons. I feel much better going out when I'm not by myself. I can find myself having spent 3-4 days straight not leaving the house.. I don't like the way I feel when that happens.

By keeping myself busy, I have been tending to things when they need tending to. Washing the dishes when the sink is full or after cooking, doing laundry when a load forms, cleaning the bathroom every day, vaccuming, sweeping, playing outside... all the things that I might put off for later and then my housework load is so heavy that I'm drowning in it. I'm not the greatest house keeper. It's a struggle for me to keep things clean the way other so effortlessly do. It's something I am constantly reminding myself of. Turns out, when I do this... I'm actually tired at night. Ready to go to bed at a decent time!

It's exhausting though. To go from dishes to folding laundry to cleaning up a spill to averting the next crisis that Jude develops to making lunch... I might never sit down. I might never turn on the Weather Channel. I know there is a balance, but balance isn't my strong suit.

This weekend I am going to my grandmother's house to celebrate my mom's birthday!!! and to my cousins baby shower. I am not taking my children!

I'll probably come back completely recharged. A weekend of adult conversations!!

So, who knows. Maybe the blog will get interesting again?

Let's hope so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I have A Fine Frenzy's Almost Lover in my head, so I titled this post images... because that's really all I've got.

I wanted to write about several things this week, but they all failed.

Like these apples that were going bad- I found a recipe for fruit leather and gave it a whirl.

Notice I don't have a finished product... or an after picture. P.S you can't always substitute with honey.

And this is a lovely crisp batch of Kale. I made Kale chips.

Jaxon wouldn't even eat them. Stick to potato chips, ya'll.

I did manage to make some pink lemonade cupcakes.

They were awesome.

I painted some jar lids with chalkboard paint. That way I can keep up with what's in them when I use them for food storage. I got that idea from pinterest, where somebody did that with baby food jars for their spices. But my spices come in plastic bottles with shaker lids. And I like it that way.

That hummus was delicious!! if I hadn't have written hummus on the jars lid, my husband might think I am hoarding vomit in the fridge. It looks pretty disgusting, but tastes so gooooood.

That was about the only thing that turned out ok this week.

Friday night was pretty awesome. We made a fire, and sat around and enjoyed each other's company. Kids love fires.

The moon was so beautiful peeking out from behind the clouds. It was so bright out because of it.

Got my hoop out and gave it a whirl. I enjoyed myself so much. If the neighbors had seen us, who knows what they would've thought. Backyard campfires, kids running amuck, a crazy hoop lady...


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Week 8 of the challenge.

I've got supper on, so I thought I'd take a minute to blog about week 8 in the FreePlayLife challenge.

This week we're focusing on not being sorry. Or not saying sorry for every single thing. You certainly don't have to apologize for everything that you do that somebody else may not like. I don't really relate to this so much because I am not an over apologizer. I mean, there are times where I apologize just because I feel like it would make the situation better, or ease tension, or maybe prevent a loved ones feelings from being too trampled. I know some people that are just so afraid they'll offend someone that they just apologize for everything. I can't imagine being like that.

The only place in my life really, that I could apply "don't say you're sorry" to is with my kids. And this is something that I have been working towards for a while now.

Whenever a sizeable group of children are playing together, if one of them gets hurt at the hand of another, that child's parent makes them say they are sorry. Once that "sorry" is uttered and usually demanded to be done in a respectful manner, the offended child and parent instantly relax (some) and then we can carry on with playground business as usual. But was that child really sorry? In most cases, I would say no. If someone apologizes to you because they were made to, why does that make it all better? I know, I know, some of you are going to say that it's teaching the child to be responsible for his/her behavior and be polite. It's a social custom, yada yada...

But that doesn't mean that a child should be forced to say sorry. If my kids are fighting and they are angry at each other, I know that making them say sorry is just a candy coating. No truce was called and there will be payback. I feel like it is only when I allow my children to be apart for enough time that they calm down and then we address the fuss, that they can calmly talk it out and we can provide insight for them. But they are probably even then not sorry for getting violent with each other, because at the time, that's what they felt like was needed.

Alot of the time, "im sorry" just seem so generic. If me and my husband have a tiff, if I feel the need to make amends, saying things like "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings when I said that and I shouldn't have acted in anger..." means more than "I'm sorry I yelled at you." Even though I am sorry that I did, sorry is just so overused now, you just have to dig deep to find the words to really connect.

So when my kids behavior is less than stellar towards each other and sometimes other kids, I usually do the whole.. "so and so, we don't treat other people that way. Do you need to be separated from everyone else until you can behave appropriately?" and then I might address the offended child and say "are you ok?" to let them know that I am aware that they may have gotten their feelings or body hurt.

I do understand that not everybody is going to feel this way. But it's how I am applying week 8 to my life. Stop being sorry, start being real!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Try, try again.

We took Dylan back to his doctor yesterday. Dylan was taken off of Tenex. Tenex was not our friend. About 2 and 1/2 weeks in, it got ugly.

We got there, with all 3 wildboys in tow. Dylan did not bark the whole time this time, he was too distracted by his brothers to avoid the doctors. They ask him random questions that they have already asked me, to see if our answers are the same or not. They asked Dylan if he'd been taking his medicine every day and he told them no. Which they luckily shrugged off, because I have been giving him that retched medicine every day.

At the first visit, there was a scary conversation that went something like this:
(keep in mind Dylan often answers questions in whatever way he feels will get you to shutup faster)

Doc: "Dylan, has anyone ever touched you inappropriately?"
Dylan: "YES!" (angrily/impatiently)
Doc: "Dylan has anyone ever touched your Pee Pee?"
Dylan: (looking up from his toy with a boyish grin) "No! hahahahah"
everyone in the room: *sigh haha *sigh

They ask that stuff because they have to know, but still, Dylan would answer like that! Perfect time to not pay attention, son!

So we told the doctor about the horrible symptoms he's having on the old med and he suggested a new one instead.



I was nervous. I'm still nervous. The doctor told me, that if the ritalin did not work, we would know right away because he would be irritable like the Hulk. Kids that don't have attention issues get irritable when they take adhd meds. The very.last.thing I want is something to make Dylan more irritable. So I told that doctor "look, I used to take that stuff recreationally. I know that irritability and I don't want to set him up for that". He basically told me that his goal with it is to get Dylan's mind to focus and calm so that the little distractions that are getting him so worked up aren't really there for him anymore. Dylan has lost all interest in his school work, and he hopes it will help with that too. He did tell me that Ritalin doesn't have to build up in his system to know if it works, it either will work or it won't.

So this morning I gave him his Ritalin and braced myself. Dylan sat on the couch at my grandmother's house and played with his LeapPad all morning until it was time to leave. Then he played it in the van. Then we got home and he had probably a half hour conversation with me about trains. He thinks he is riding a train tomorrow. I don't know why.

How many times has he yelled at Jude today? once or twice. Hayden made him cry once, by telling him he wasn't invited to a hypothetical situation he had invented, which is not out of the ordinary, but happens more than once a day usually. So I can tell there are improvements. I won't say I'm sold on it, though. Not until he goes to school on it for a while.

I am uncomfortable with my child being on Ritalin. But say if he were on Lithium I wouldn't be. That's because Lithium is a mood stabilizer, and he has mood swings, so that fits. But Dylan doesn't have ADHD or ADD, so him taking Ritalin is strange.

But whatever works is the way I should look at it, and hopefully I'll get to that point.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Today, my blonde headed boy turns six years old! Well, not until 5:02 pm.

I cannot believe this child is six years old now.

Anytime we talk about doing things for Hayden, no matter how big or small, I regard it in a manner that you would if it were someone that had saved your pet from a fire. Paid your car note when times were tough, or watched your kids when you were sick. Whatever it is, however big or small, he deserves it.

That's because Hayden has been everything for us, since the beginning. When Dylan was showing developmental delays, Hayden was there to show us the difference in that. THey are 17 months apart, so I consider them twins. They've always done everything together. If Dylan does something wrong, Hayden is there to show him the right way. Dylan is the crooked curve, Hayden is the straight and narrow.

He helps so much around here. He helps Dylan with life and he plays with Jude so well. He's a best friend for sure. He'd do anything for anybody. He'll give your kid his favorite toy, if it'll make him happy. (just don't ask him to get you a q-tip, he's tired of doing that)

We had his birthday party yesterday. It was a nice sunny 70 degrees. A perfect day for a jumper!!!

It was our first time having one at a birthday party, and now I think we have to do it 3 times a year. It was so much fun!

We had the party outdoors, and that was such a good decision. It's so nice out to be inside.

Great friends, great food.

We put that loveseat in front of the jumper so the kids could get in and out safely. We had a folding chair there at first, and Hayden showed us that was not going to work by falling out of the jumper onto the folding chair. It was like something out of Wrestlemania. But even with the loveseat there, he managed to injure his self getting out. The more the kids jumped, the farther away it would move from the loveseat!

alot of scenes like this.

He got a lot of presents! Everybody was so generous.

Thank you all for coming! Sorry there weren't more pictures, we were very much "in the moment".

Happy Birthday Hayden!