Monday, April 30, 2012

24 Years

24 years ago today, when I was 12, um, I mean 21……….


Sean and Piano

Sean is just completing his second year of piano or his 4th semester.  He has learned a lot in a short time in the Musik Garten program.   

Last week was a 4H contest which was like a talent contest.  One category was musical – vocal or instrumental – so he signed up and went to play.  It said in the information the time limit was 3-5 minutes.  They wanted a minimum of 3 minutes.  The problem is most of his songs are more like 15 or 20 seconds.  So, he played a couple of songs twice to end up with about a minute.  Points are taken off for being under.    There were only seven acts total of all three categories and they can send six acts to the area contest.  He was selected to go to area.  They all were since one girl in the musical category also participated in a skit in another category. 

So, our dilemma is this.  How does he play for three minutes?   His piano teacher has offered to help him put together a medley of a handful of songs.   Thankfully.

The area contest is less than 2 weeks away so he has a lot of practicing to do and we do not have the medley ready yet.   I need to find him a pair of shoes since he outgrew his other ones.  We learned that “costumes” are also judged.  Here’s a picture from last year’s recital.  We missed the January recital due to a scouting event. 


Friday, April 27, 2012

New Neighbors, New Friends?

The house diagonal from ours has new occupants although they are not sleeping there yet.  The big trucks came yesterday and moved in their stuff.  The kids are very excited because they have kids.  We had heard three but it appears possibly four including a school-aged girl.   Sierra is beside herself.   There have been rare sightings of the older kids who were probably in school while the parents have been cleaning and whatever else you do before moving into a home, but the younger two are a newborn and a toddler.  We look forward to meeting all of them soon. 

I am easily entertained these days and spent the day wondering how the semi was going to get back off of our street.  I learned that they can sort of maneuver on a cul-de-sac but you better hope it is not muddy.  A lot of backing up and pulling forward until they got past our mailboxes.  Here is how it ended up and they parked there until they were read to leave with the smaller truck.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fainting Spells

After Callie’s last episode of fainting which resulted in an ambulance ride, I decided we were going to go talk to the doctor.   Although the paramedics said it is not uncommon for someone to pass out after having a procedure, I didn’t go into the other times she has passed out.

I told the doctor that this seems to be increasing in frequency and we’d like to know what causes it and if there’s anything we can do to prevent it. 

Most, if not all, of her fainting spells appear to be connected to some event or pain.   For example, the first time I remember her passing out was at the health department a few minutes after she got the flu shot.  This was before we learned she has an allergy to egg and, at the time, the nurses thought it was due to anxiety.    She said she didn’t feel well so they sat her in a chair, and did everything you’d expect them to do to try to prevent her from fainting but she went out anyway.  Another time, she passed out while ice skating with a migraine headache caused from drinking a diet soda.  (This was our first clue that she is sensitive to aspartame).   During this past winter, in the span of about three months, she passed out three different times after hitting the funny bone on her elbow.   She can feel it coming on and thankfully has been at least sitting down when it occurs.  She loses consciousness.  She has also had close calls at church after being overcome by someone’s strong perfume, but this hasn’t happened in a long time.

Needless to say, it would not be good to have her passing out when she’s, say, at the library, or at church, or on a walk around the neighborhood.  She could get hurt pretty easily from a fall. 

The doctor suspects it is what is called vasovagal syncope, even though most people will not faint from hitting the funny bone.  She is going to order some tests.   One will be a tilt table test which will monitor her heart and blood pressure when they tilt her at different angles.  The other test will be to wear an event recorder for several days. 

When the paramedics turned her over to the emergency department staff at the hospital, he mentioned that she had a heart arrhythmia when they hooked her up in the ambulance.  I mentioned this to the doctor.   I think this monitoring is to check her heart when she has dizziness or chest pains that she sometimes complains of.  

Anyway, I hope we can find some answers and some solutions. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sick Day

My husband has been working so much that the kids were excited to find him home yesterday morning.  He was sick so he called in. 

Last night at bed time, Sean told him that it was nice to spend time with him during the day and then he asked, “Can you call in sick tomorrow?” 

I thought how sweet that was but on the other hand, it’s pretty pathetic that you have to be sick to see your kids.  Turns out, he feels worse today than he expected and has called in again.   Normally, he will tough it out at work if he’s sick but I’m sure it’s hard to go in to work sick knowing you are looking at probably at least a 12 hour day. 

The kids are not awake yet so they don’t know.  It reminds me to look for good even in the bad and to give thanks in all things. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wisdom Teeth Update

The surgery went well yesterday.  She came home very wired from sedation but did not sleep more than an hour the first six hours at home.  They told us she would sleep most of the day.  They do not know how adversely she is affected by chemicals. 

And eventually, her system must have become overwhelmed by the combination of sedation drugs, anesthetic, pain meds, lack of food, and who knows what else.  Long story short, she ended up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital for a couple of hours on IV fluids.  I think that’s what she needed to flush all those toxins out of her system.   I am thinking all surgery patients might need a good flushing out so they can recover easier. 

She has passed out before, but never to this extent and would always recover.  Yesterday, we could not get her to stay awake and bounce back and her color was ashen gray.  Not a good color to see in your child’s face. 

She has had some rest and has eaten some soft food today and has a lot of color… rosy pink chipmunk cheeks. 

This is how she likes to sleep.  No wonder she likes burrowing animals. 


More on Food Dyes

Here is an interesting article on food dyes.  Notice the short list at the bottom of surprising foods containing artificial colors.  Then click on the link for the full report and scroll down for a more complete list. 

It never hurts to read all labels.  Even some white marshmallows have blue dyes.  And restaurants also include it in their foods.

I believe manufacturers are really insulting us by adding dye to things to make them appear more appetizing. 

Trust me, after experiencing the kind of behavior my oldest has after ingesting red dye or listening to my husband wheeze after ingesting yellow dye, I do not find bright colored food very appealing. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wisdom Teeth

The oldest, who is seventeen, will be having her wisdom teeth removed today. 

Her bottom teeth have already broken through the gums so I’m hoping that will mean less abuse during surgery. 

She lost her first tooth at age 4 and was the first in preschool to lose a tooth. 

She had all her permanent teeth before age 9.  

We have joked that maybe she is really older than they told us. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just a Haircut

Sometimes all it takes is a haircut to take you back in time or cause flash backs.  Sean has been wearing his hair longer for the past couple of years or so.  Today, we got his hair cut and it’s like looking at him when he was three years old. 

001This was taken in February with his basketball trophy.

Below are his today versus when he was three.   His hair has darkened quite a bit.




Saturday, April 07, 2012

Artificial-Free Marshmallows

Since my son cannot have corn syrup, I have learned to make healthier marshmallows a few times and we love them.  Did you know that some marshmallows you buy at the store have blue dye in them?  Why?? 

I took some pictures starting at step 5.   Notice, no dyes. 






Adapted recipe from the book Candy Making Basics by Evelyn Howe Fryatt

powdered sugar for dusting
2 packages Knox gelatin
8 tablespoons cold water (same as 1/2 cup)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Dust an 8- or 9-inch square pan with powdered sugar. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, soak gelatin and 8 tablespoons of cold water. Set aside.

3. Combine granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a large heavy saucepan.

4. Cook and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Add gelatin and bring to a boil.

5. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl and let stand until partially cool.

6. Add salt and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer until soft and double in volume.

7. Pour into the prepared pan to about 1/2 inch thick.8. Set to cool until it will not stick to the finger.9.

Cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces and roll in powdered sugar. 


To make them for roasting, double the gelatin.  It will seem too thick but when you add it to the sugar water, it will dissolve.   They will stay on the stick but melt easily on s’mores so they are a bit messy. 


To make them taste like peeps, you can use organic powdered sugar which is not as fine or use a coffee grinder to grind your own sugar to make your own.


It takes a while to beat the mixture until it doubles and is soft.  I start out on low and then as it gets a little thicker, I increase the speed and finish with it on high.  This takes me 15-20 min. with my handheld mixer. 


These are so good that they do not last long at our house. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Why Are Dinosaurs Extinct?

They died. 


Why are DoDo birds extinct? 

They died.  They did not need a meteor crashing to the ground or some single event to make them extinct.  They were unable to survive as flightless birds probably due to their environment being disrupted by the addition of animals and people who may have hunted them or destroyed their nests which previously had been safe on the ground.