Monday, November 29, 2010

Meal plan Monday- Dairy and almost Soy free

So, as advised by Nolen's doctors, I am trying a Dairy Free (and added Soy free myself) diet in the hopes that it will rule out a milk and soy allergy as the cause of his constant diarrhea since his admitance to the hospital. With that said...Milk and Soy are in virtually everything, so this first menu is kinda my first attempt.

Today- I made my base for two (maybe three meals) using left over roast veggies and turkey from thanksgiving. It's basically Chicken Stock, Chicken Breast, Roast Veggies, Seasoning, Celery and Potatos. I ate it as Chicken Soup for lunch (the girls had a sandwich with cheese and bread that has whey in it).

Dinner- Individual Chicken Pot Pies. I'm taking my Chicken Base and mashing the potatos for thickness, filling pie crusts (milk free/soy free) and baking until crust is done since the base is already cooked

Lunch- Leftover Pizza for the kids, a Salad with my homemade dressing (Most dressings on the shelf use Vegetable oil, which has soy in it).

Dinner- Roast made in the crockpot with lots of veggies (I'll be using an onion soup packet mix...which has trace amounts of soy...but I don't think it should count because when listing allergies it doesn't include Soy, it only says that it's made in a factory that uses soy).

Lunch-Roast Sandwich (using the bread I found that is milk free!)
Dinner- Pan fried Tilapia, Fresh Veggies, Garlic bread

We will be gone for all meals (which means I will have to be googling things that are milk free for me to eat or packing lunch/dinner)

Lunch-Dirty Rice (left over Tilapia, onions, bell pepper, celery and beans)
Dinner-I'll be Christmas Shopping while the girls eat dinner at Parent's night out.

Lunch-Might be out...We have the Christmas party that morning
Dinner-Chicken Base with beans and rice added to make it a hearty soup for the girls, with Grilled cheese!


More Meals at Meal Planning Monday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nolen's GI update

So on the 22nd we went to see the GI Doctors at CHOPS. First off, I absolutely LOVE these doctors. They ROCK! They talked to Nolen (like he could talk back) and they caught a few things that were never mentioned to me before regarding Nolen's time in the hospital.

Apparently, his Liver functioning, nutrition levels and other vital functions were compromised and completely off the charts while in the hospital. I don't know if the doctors purposely neglected to tell me this information or if they choose to omit it for fear I couldn't handle it. (Heck, the only reason I know his actual diagnosis is because I stayed in the "circle" during rounds and heard them say he had it.) Needless to say, this omission caused me NOT to mention it to my doctor, and because the hospital has yet to share records with Nolen's Pediatrician, tests have not been repeated to insure that things have normalized. I will be correcting this ASAP (Monday). Those of you who know my husband can only imagine how livid he is about this neglect.

Things we learned-
-Nolen does have blood in his stool.
-He isn't Gaining like he should
-More than likely, his choking is related to reflux
-He has an overgrowth of yeast.

What we are doing-
-I am going on a no-dairy/no-soy diet to see if the diarrhea is related to an allergy. (Soy and Milk are exposure allergies, and this is the more unlikely of the causes but the easiest and least invasive means of eliminating a potential cause).

-He is being treated both orally and topically for the yeast

-He is getting fortified breastmilk (breastmilk plus powdered formula) in the hopes that more calories/ounce will help him make up the difference without using the tube.

-His Zantac was upped to 3xday/1.2ml...more on this later

-Testing his stool for infection (the most likely cause of his Diarrhea)

We go back in Jan. and if his choking doesn't improve we will do a barium suck swallow test as well as put him on medication for his secretions and possible put the tube back in due to the fear of aspiration (where you end up getting fluid in your lungs and developing pneumonia).
That amount of Zantac was causing Nolen to be excessively sleepy and less interested in eating so I have since had to stop that amount. His choking has returned to the severity prior to this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am thankful for Life.

           Call it cheesy, but this year, I am  finding myself  thankful for life. Not just the happy go lucky parts, but the bare knuckles, rough and tumbled parts. Why? I've learned that it's those rough and tumbled parts that polish you into a more beautiful person. The kind of person who realizes that even at your worst you have something to be thankful for, even if it's as small as the next breath.

 We have a tradition of writing what we are thankful for on a table cloth in permanent ink.

Each year we sit at the table and enjoy our food with reminders of our blessings in the past, the friends we have shared this meal with and the reminders of the blessing from that current year.

This year, these are our new blessings-
I wrote that I was thankful for love that knows no distance, strengthens in moments of weakness and grows without end.
Kaelyn wrote that she was thankful for the food God made us.
Catherine (my friend's daughter who is also four) wrote that she was thankful for the Three Musketeers and that her Daddy is going to come home from fighting the bad guys (her dad is also deployed)
Kari (my friend who shared this holiday with me, and helped me assemble the table we ate on) wrote that she was thankful for friends who are there in the good times and the bad.
Hunter and Anna just wrote. :)
I hope you and yours had a joyful holiday weekend! I've got lots of updates on Nolen and the girls!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dr's Office Homeschooling

Since Nolen is requiring so many frequent doctors appointments, I have had to start rethinking my approach to homeschooling. Before I relied heavily on worksheets/traditional style learning, but that doesn't always translate well into a doctors setting where my girls will have to work independantly from me. This is what I have found that works

-Lots of File Folder Games!

I carry these puzzles in a coupon sorter, and they very easily pull out. Kaelyn using them for her phonics and word recognition. Anna uses them for learning how to sort the colors and put the puzzles together.

While waiting for Nolen's medication, Kaelyn wrote a book (about 3 musketeers, I have to find it so that I can put a picture up) while Anna played with more puzzles.

-Lots of Reading! Kaelyn has progressed beyond Short A in Progressive Phonics and I am combing Progressive Phonics with Hubbard's Cupboard so that we are hitting both Phonics and Sight words! I'm so excited to see her make strides in reading! She is doing great at sounding out three letter words, especially those with the short a sound, and she can sight read *on, had, this, see, at, we, will, and a few more that I can't quite remember.

-Lots of everyday math. For example, with Fruit Snacks I make Anna tell me the color while I make Kaelyn sort them by color, tell me which has more, which has less etc. It seems to be working (with Kaelyn). Yesterday she told me that "If we had two cinderellas then we would have four evil stepsisters. But I like to pretend that Cinderella has a nice sister like Anna, so that would be two nice sisters as well" She's spontaneously drew a pattern (for her calender chart which is exactly what we used to do when we had daily school time). She asks to see this chart so that she can tell me "what kind of day it is, and what the weather was like".

-Lots of Drawing- In addition to making her own story book, she also regurgitated the plant life cycle! Complete with water hose, sunlight, dirt, seed, seedling, full blown flower with roots!!!!

Then we donated our hair!!! She is so excited to be doing something to help others. I told her I was donating my hair and explained how they would use my hair to make wigs for people who don't have hair. She didn't understand so we toured the Locks of Love photo gallery and she was SOLD on the idea.

Before she got it cut!

her and her ponytail! It was about 8 inches of hair!!!

The after! I love it because she can take care of it by herself!! As much as she likes it, I think she will grow it back out!

Nolen is doing better. He has been having choking episodes that can not be explained away easily. They occur despite position, whether he is eating or not (meaning he chokes on his own spit), time of day, etc. His peditrician started him on Zantac to see if it might help the symptoms (it seems to have helped the severity of his choking, although it could just be that I am more in tune to his cues) and we see the GI doctor on Monday. Hopefully we can get a suck swallow test scheduled so that we can determine the cause. He is doing much better with tracking/head control, and seems to be gaining strength daily. He has been spacing out and did so that the therapist was concerned. I'm going to be tracking the time and duration so that we can determine if it's something to note to the Neurologist come Jan/Feb.

More Homeschool posts at Preschool Corner!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dear Ryan,

November 19, 2005
Five years! Amazing how little time it seems looking back. 1/2 a decade!
We started out with things a little backwards, but God knew what he was doing. The first year wasn't easy, but I love the memories I have from it. (The now infamous envelope argument.) The morning after this picture was taken you hopped on a plane and went back to training. I think it set a good tone for what I could expect in the years to come.

I finally joined you after 3 months of marriage. I was about 4 months pregnant and we lived in that one bedroom apartment, an air mattress and one car! All for the sake of saving money. It was worth it. Thank you!

We skipped a honeymoon because you had training. It was a little over a year that we would finally get away for our first time ever as a couple. Kaelyn stayed with your mom and we went to Hawaii.
I love this picture of us. It makes me smile thinking of how much fun we had on our "honeymoon". How you got out of the stupid Kayak in the middle of Kanaohe Bay and I wouldn't get out with you because I was scared of sharks. Then the current pulled you away and I couldn't get the Kayak to move towards you. I still smile thinking of how horribly burnt our legs got.

2 Apartments, 2 Houses, 4 States, I would say we are par for the course of a military family. We have said goodbye, and hello

a lot in the past five years. I like the hello part the best. 
But while you are away, the kids and I have learned so much. I have grown so much because of you and your amazing attitude. You have such a desire to contribute, to do your best, to try your best and to help others, that spirit has rubbed off on me and our girls. I hope Nolen learns that from you. I also hope Nolen learns you since of Chivalry and Family. 

We have been there as we have had to say goodbye to those we love. We have held each other's hand, comforted each others breaking heart, calmed each other's fears, and leaned on each other for strength, hope, knowing that together we can do anything. Smiling through the pain, laughing despite the trails, loving no matter what, and celebrating across the distance.

I have watched you grow as a man. I stood there and proudly watched you take the oath as you were promoted to Captain.

I have watched you grow from an eager young father who didn't know much...

To a Dad who can expertly feed a baby while entertaining a toddler. We have been blessed with three gorgeous children, and I watched you rise to the occasion, and walk out of a deployment and straight into this.
You walked off a plane from one of the most stressful environments into the most stressful one, and you picked up Dr. Dolittle and you started reading where I had left off. I can't tell you how much you mean to me, or how much I admire your strength or perhaps it's your ability to find the strength to do what needs to be done. Thank you for letting me be weak in that situation, for letting me break down.

 I remember the first time you got to hold Nolen after he had "woke up", and the way he smiled at you, like he wanted you to know that he remembered you, and that it was like you had never left.
I know exactly how he feels, your smile, your presence and your face bring me such joy, a joy that even though we aren't together this year, it spans the distance.

Ryan, I am so thankful, so blessed and so wonderfully in love with you. I can't wait to see what the next 5 years hold.

Happy 5th Anniversary baby!
 Fly Safe and Sleep well.
Love always,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The longest Tuesday ever

Today was an insanely long day, but it was a success (as I sit writing this watching Glee and avoiding work)

Successful things that happened today:

-Managed to get a box of goodies out to my hubby
-Made it to MOPS where I volunteered in the PreK room
-PreK room rocked a modified game of pictionary (I drew/wrote letters, shapes, numbers, etc)
-Ate all meals at a fast food joint
-Made it to Philly and our Neuro appointment
-Put both girls into simulatenous timeout for not sharing and interupting me during the doctors appointment, but ended up with perfect angels after said incident.
-Made it to the soccer game

Now the not so successful moments-
We haven't been able to figure out what is causing Nolen's sudden issues with choking. For the past two weeks he has been experiencing episodes where he chokes about 2-4 times a day. I would venture to say that atleast once every 3-4 days he has one so severe that his lips will change colors. Neuro doesn't think it's a sign of seizure (which is a good thing) but wants me to follow up with Speech (which will require a referral).  He has Physical therapy on Thursday, so hopefully I can swing getting Early Intervention to tack on a speech therapy session. We will see.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our week in school

Unfortunately I don't have any photos this week, but I do have some great links!

Kaelyn has been wanting to plant plants, and I unfortunately had to inform her that that season has really come and gone. So I spied some of those tiny little pots with seeds included at the Target dollar spot and we have been learning about plants all week.

This site here has a GREAT game that teaches about how a plant grows. It also has a lot of other great resources and games. Kaelyn enjoyed pouring water on her virtual seed and watching the roots grow and a sprout form.

This site has great information on the purposes of each part of a plant. It's also got a "tree video" that my daughter loved to watch.

I uploaded a few free games for the girls and they have enjoyed them. They are Toddler Quiz. Which I was hoping would quiz Anna on colors, but it quizes on a lot more than just that. And then SantaCount, which is a fun count the presents game.

Kaelyn had an overwhelming desire to read this week, so she started out on a book she picked out. Needless to say it was FAR above her abilities, but it was what she wanted. She did a great job and recognized a few sight words I didn't know she could (Is, He, and On). I am just excited that the desire is there! FINALLY!!!!!

We've also been entertaining a lot of  questions here lately regarding the body. Which is great because we've been using our body book!

Aside from some accidently addition and subtraction, color recognition and shape recognition,we haven't managed to do formal school this week!

Here is what other families have been up to over at Preschool Corner!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Feeling guilty

I am very thankful to have my little blog here, in the past when only random bloggers were reading it, I found it very helpful to vent out some of my guilt/fears/etc. Well,  now that people I see on a regular basis are reading it, I thought I would hesitate to admit those fears/guilt here, but apparently I'm not.

So here it goes. I am starting to get a little overwhelmed with the amount of appointments Nolen is requiring. Here is a peek into next week.

Monday- Possible starting PT in voorhees (it's not set up yet, but it will be MWorF of every week)
Tuesday-MOPS and then Neurology in Phili
Wednesday-empty (but every other week we do weigh ins and development checks on base, and shots).
Thursday-PT at noon
Friday-empty, Dance Class
Saturday-Dance Class and Soccer Party

I know it doesn't seem like a lot, if it was just one child. And then you have to add in the normal errands of groceries, the library, post office, etc.

But I have two other kids, who I am responsible for. Two kids who require attention and being taught. Not to mention that I have a referral for ANOTHER therapy, but I  am waiting to schedule it because I don't know how the therapist in Voorhees are going to feel about having two additional children with the one they are helping.

 I sometimes wonder how I am going to manage to teach Kaelyn like I should, or how I am suppose to be able to play with Anna like I want...and that is why I find myself waiting to call and schedule Occupational Therapy. I know it would help him, but that would put therapy three times a week, not to mention Neuro/GI atleast once a week. Those two appointments mean a trip into Philadelphia. In addition to bi-monthly weigh ins, monthly well babys, and additional developmental checks. Not to mention the girls have appointments of their own.

I have once again looked into schools around here for Kaelyn to attend PreK, but that still leaves Anna. If I put her into school (and Anna into daycare) those are just two more things that I have to schedule around, four more trips. It  would only further hinder my ability to be flexible with appointments because I don't have to worry about picking her up from school. I've thought about daycare, but again I wonder if it would help or hurt (the more flexible you are with appointment times the better chance you have getting your child seen at an appropriate time and not MONTHS into the future, for instance w/GI the earliest I could get him seen at the Voorhees office would be Feb. but since I am willing to drive I managed an early morning appointment 35-40 mins away from the house in Dec.).

I am feeling a tad bit guilty about not spending enough time with the girls, especially Anna. I feel guilty for not taking Nolen to this additional therapy until I figure out how to balance all I have going on and I find myself scared that somehow, amongst it all I am going to find that I have overlooked something (like shopping for Christmas...can you believe we are only a few weeks away).

Thankfully, I do have my own little outlets. I am still working and volunteering...but those are two things that make me happy, that make me feel like I am accomplishing something, and thankfully they can be done during naps and bedtimes when I am free.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why does your son reek of Olive Oil? And other Random Madness

       So the next time you pick up my little man, and you suddenly have the urge to wipe your bread across his scalp, you'll now know why. Poor guys has HORRIBLE cradles cap and nothing has worked. So now, I am trying olive oil. Despite the strong odor and urge to gobble him up, it doesn't seem to be doing much. Any suggestions to help with cradle's cap?

      Kaelyn has started trying to use reverse psychology on me on a near to regular basis. The first time, I had fed her lunch and she asked for chips. I told her that after she woke up from nap, if she picked up her room she could have them for snack. So, Kaelyn decides to forgo lunch in the hopes of eating chips. She wakes up, doesn't pick up and it is now time to go. She starts to complain about being hungry to which I tell her, you made these choices and will now have to wait until we are back home. This is what she threw back at me.
"Mom, you want me to grow up and be big and strong right?"
"Yes I do Kaelyn."
"Then you should probably give me those chips."

Tonight's attempt at reverse psychology
"You want me to go to sleep right?"
"Yes, I do Kaelyn"
"I have to have chocolate milk to go to sleep."
"Well, that's unfortunate seeing as you didn't use your manners when you asked and how you have already had one glass of milk. Your more than welcome to get water."
"No, it has to be chocolate milk to work"
"Then I guess you'll just have to lay in your bed, in the dark, all night long until morning"

Anna has discovered how to climb on my cabinet knobs and turn on all the facets in an attempt to wash her hands. I have found all my sinks running simultaneously as she tests out this new found skill. I am expecting a very high water bill.

This will be my third attempt at successfully collecting and freezing a stool sample from Nolen. Trust me, I do not like doing this, but some how I have managed to bungle the attempt on more than one occasion. Luckily I have perfected the double bag, ziploc container, in it's own corner away from my frozen veggies method.

Kaelyn hid her eyedrops. I will probably have to call and ask for another prescription. Any suggestions on where a four year old might hid drops?

Have I mentioned that Anna now thinks clothing is completely optional.

Madness I say, complete madness.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


My father-in-law once asked me if I wanted my children to be gifted (in reference to my husband and I, who both were in gifted classes) and I responded, "No". He asked if I wanted them to do well in school and I answered quite honestly, "I don't care what they do in school, or if they are as dumb as a rock. All I want my children to do is three simple things, Have a GREAT work ethic, Be respectful/polite, and have a good heart. I truly believe that if they can do those three things, they will do well in life."

I don't know what prompted me to think of this...perhaps I was just being a sentimentalist, or it was Kaelyn's comment earlier today regarding how she was "determined to learn to read". Since Nolen's gotten sick and set back, I've started to adjust my perspectives and forget about the silly "Your child should be doing x,y, and z by age blah" book and let my son and my girls write their own stories. That, and one of Ryan's co-workers looked at him after asking how Nolen was doing and simply said, "If he is only 3 months behind for the rest of his life he is still doing pretty damn good". I'll take that.