Friday, December 13, 2013

Adding to Our List: Pecans

I was cooking supper and Witt sat on the couch. (I can see the couch from the kitchen.)  Surprisingly, he started screaming, 


As soon as I heard him scream, I grabbed the Benedryl from the cabinet, poured him some, and told him to come to me.  I asked him if he'd just eaten anything and he said, "Yes. Nuts."

I told him to take the Benedryl and he started crying. Shouting, "NO!" and then ran down the hall.  (He hates taking medicine.) I continued to talk to him in a very rushed voice and told him that he had to take it or the itching might get worse and we'd have to go to the hospital to get a shot.

He finally took it and within just a minute he said it was getting better. Small hives started creeping onto his face and I checked his torso. Thankfully there weren't any hives there. I asked about his throat and he said it felt fine. Then he asked what the bump was on his lip.

I asked him when he noticed it. If it had been there all day? He said he didn't know. I asked him if he just noticed it after eating the nuts and he said yes.  I asked about his tongue and he said it was all itchy, but was better now. 

I asked him about the nuts. Turns out he and Nathan were cracking and snacking on pecans. I asked how many he'd eaten and he said, "About four".

I was a little surprised because he's had pecans plenty of times, even recently. Plus, pecans were negatives on both his skin test and blood test.   

Once I was sure the Benedryl was working, I snapped the pictures so I could show Jeff when he got home.  That poor bottom lip.  :( 

I am so glad he was able to tell me what the problem was and I could get the Benedryl in him as quickly as I did.  I've seen pictures of MUCH worse.  

Today, I call the doctor and ask for an epi-pen prescription. 

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Skin Test 2013

Witt, age 6, had a skin test done recently.  Poor little guy... 32 individual pricks on the back.  It was not an enjoyable day.  Here is a shot of his back right after the test was administered:

And 20 minutes later there were 6 positive results: Wheat, Soy, Almond, Hazelnut, Peanut, and Cantaloupe.
Thankfully the whelps are not as large as the first time he had the skin test years ago. And thankfully these allergies are not life-threatening!  We are still waiting on the results of the blood test to get a more complete picture of his food allergies.  Please say a little prayer for us as we enter back into the food allergy "club". 
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Sad News...Dairy Allergy Returns

Witt "outgrew" his dairy allergy at age 2 1/2. We lived as a dairy-free family from the time he was 6 months old (when we found out about his his life-threatening allergy) until then.

After that, we slowly introduced dairy products into his diet. There were no reactions. He LOVED cheese and yogurt! We switched to raw milk and he drank that fine as well.

Then, about a year ago (around 5 1/2 years old), he started having stomach pains after he ate.  They were random and not every time he ate.  Then after a few months, the pain got worse and more frequent.  He wasn't finishing meals.

I began to narrow things down in his diet and watch what he ate and when the pain would come.  I had it narrowed down to gluten and/or dairy.  Then, one morning before he ate anything, I gave him a small glass of milk to drink and nothing else. I set the timer for 20 minutes to watch for a reaction.

Within 10 minutes he was in pain! He wouldn't eat anything else and went back to bed to wait it out. Poor little guy.

He had a doctor's visit and I brought up the possibility of lactose-intolerance turning up.  Dr. P said given Witt's history, he would not classify it as intolerance, but as an allergy.  He recommended keeping as much dairy out of his diet as possible.

I posted this new information on my food allergy blog, Must Follow Recipes, asking for suggestions. I got a response from Lady Makes It saying that her husband cycles through from allergy, to being able to tolerate milk in small amounts with Lactaid use, and then back to full-blown allergy. This gave me the idea to use Lactaid with Witt... and it worked beautifully!

For awhile.

Now, the Lactaid doesn't even help. He is even having stomach pains from baked-in milk and from cultured milk, like yogurt. :(

So now, I'm back to reading labels for hidden dairy and re-learning how to cook dairy-free for him. It's not as intimidating this time because I know I've done it before, but I am so not excited about this (for him or for me). However, at least now, at age 6, he is able to ask if something has dairy in it and (as of right now) the allergy is not life-threatening.

THAT is a HUGE blessing!!!

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Will, (no longer age 10) age 11

I try to include the boys' ages when I write about them. No more zeros for Will for awhile.  He's the big ONE - ONE. I suppose that makes him a "tween" now? Sure does feel like it anyway...

About two weeks before Will started public school this year, he was testing out some boundaries.  He didn't want help, he didn't want reminders, he didn't want suggestions. He wanted to do everything on his own. And he said so with ATTITUDE.

This continued into the school year... especially regarding homework and studying for tests.

The teacher sent out a text to the entire class' parents reminding about a spelling test the next day. That night, I told Will he needed to study for the test and offered to help.

"Mooooommmm! Ugh. (huff puff) I don't need to study. I don't need your help." blah blah blah. ATTITUDE.
I finally told him that there was a much better way to say that, "Mom, I appreciate you wanting to help, but I'd rather do this on my own."  
He nodded. I continued to give him another chance at changing his attitude, "Would you like some help studying for your test?" 
Shaking his head profusely, "NUH-UH!" 

We had a similar conversation the following week about a History test. I told him that if he is choosing not to study for a test that he would suffer the consequences if he made a bad grade:  No screen time until he brings the grade up. He looked a little shocked, "But that's a whole week before I take another test!"  Me - "Yep, but it's your choice".  He didn't study.

I'm actually proud that he is wanting to do his work on his own, but the ATTITUDE needed to go!

Now, of course this boy is extremely bright and he did just fine on all his tests so there hasn't been much in the way of consequences, but the attitude continued into chores and just general conversation. I felt like I was losing my sweet boy.

This week, when he brought his binder home I started to look through it in case there was any information from the teacher and I began to ask about his day. He jumped all over me - he didn't want to talk about school or work or anything. I lost my cool and slammed the notebook shut. I slid it across the table I told him, "Fine. You do it all yourself. I will help you only if you ask. I will leave you alone if that is what you want."

He teared up. "No, Mom. Don't say that. You are making me feel bad."

He continued, "I... I ... I just don't want to talk about some of the bad things that happened today like when I cried in class because I didn't know how to the worksheet. Finally the teacher came over and gave me individual instruction."

Oh I felt terrible. Both our attitudes calmed and we talked for awhile. Then he came across the room to initiate one of the best hugs I've ever gotten from him. He even sat in my lap for a bit and cuddled with me. (Can't remember the last time that happened!)

I told him I was so proud of him for sharing his feelings with me and that I was here for him whenever he wanted to talk. I told him that it was normal for there to be some times that he didn't know what to do because public school is different than home school and that it is okay to ask for help.

He said, "Thanks Mom, I feel so much better. Like a weight has been lifted. I've been keeping it in for so long."

That was about three days ago.  He has been so much more pleasant since then! Last night he even let me help him study for today's History test! No complaints. No attitude. It was wonderful.

I love my little boy, but he's growing up and not so little anymore.  He's learning to be more independent and I'm learning to let him. :)  I'm so thankful for the moment he and I shared. I just can't put into words how much it warmed my heart.

Today he turned 11. Just 7 more years to teach and guide him. Going to try to treasure all of it.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Comparing Apples to Apples

I saw some pins on Pinterest about how to keep an apple from browning.  I actually compared two of them. 

One was for apples soaked in salt water and the other was a sliced apple put back together and held by a rubber band

I used about 1 tsp sea salt to 1 cup water and placed the apples in the solution for about 5 minutes. The other apple was sliced and immediately put back together and held in place with a rubber band. Then to keep all things even, I placed them each in a zipper plastic bag, left them out on the counter and waited for 5 hours.

The result:

The apple held together by the rubber band is on the left and the salt water apples are on the right. Both browned a little, but the it is clear that the salt water apple browned less.

The rubber band apple had also turned significantly softer while the salt water apple still retained a bit of crunch.

The rubber band apple tasted like a browned apple (yuck) and the salt water apple did have a salty flavor (which I don't mind at all!).

The clear winner for our house is the salt water soaked apple!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My First Week of No Teaching

So many have asked how my week "off" was.  I feel like I'm disappointing them when I have to say I didn't even have a chance to really sit and enjoy anything.

Monday and Tuesday Witt had half days, so I dropped the boys off in the morning and then picked up Witt at noon. Came home and went back to pick up the other two less than 3 hours later.

We had two rooms getting tiled so there were workers in and out of the house all day for the most of the week. (That also means two of the rooms in my house have displaced furniture... so my house is no where near "in order".)

I went grocery shopping, returned library books, went to the farmer's market, got my haircut , got the oil changed in my truck, brought Nathan to the dentist, and then we all had a chiropractor appointment.

I cleaned out lunch boxes every afternoon and repacked them (with the boys help). I packed afternoon snacks for each boy.

I filled out all the beginning-of-the-year forms and registered for things online. I went through the daily school work and signed notes from the teacher.

I ironed the next day's outfit for each boy. (don't see this lasting too long... LOL)

I did laundry and dishes and more laundry and more dishes.

I cooked breakfast every day. Lunch for Jeff and I almost every day and then supper most nights.

It was a full week and it was full of CHANGE.


By Wednesday, I needed to crash into my pillow. I called Jeff around 4 and told him I was feeling bad. Asked if we could go out to eat and not go to church (the boys and I really needed the extra sleep). So that's what we did.  The boys were in bed by 7:30 and I wasn't too far behind.

I perked up a bit Thursday, but then by Friday night I was exhausted again.

This has been a big transition for all of us.  I think we'll make it, though. :)

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Monday, August 26, 2013

First Week of School

Last week definitely had it's ups and downs. I'll start with Witt, he had the easiest/best week:


Monday and Tuesday were both half-days, so I picked him up at noon.  He really did not seem happy or sad to be going to school. The first two days were just touring the school and getting used to the surroundings and new rules.

He did ask a few times throughout the week, "How many days do we go here? When do we homeschool again?"  He wasn't disappointed that we weren't homeschooling, just a little curious about how this was all going to work.

He "stayed on green" or "clipped up" every day. (They have a clothes pin that starts on green and then can clip up or down to a different color based on their behavior.) He seems to be settling in very well.


This boy thought he got away with something when he fell asleep in class on Monday. On Tuesday he woke up again completely exhausted asking for a 7:30 bedtime.  Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from his homeroom teacher that he had his head down on his desk in all three of his classes.  She said Will just continued to say how tired he was and she wanted to know if there was anything external going on that she needed to know about.  We talked for quite a while about a few things and discussed the possibility that he is overwhelmed with the change from "quiet" (HA!) homeschooling to a class with 20 kids.  She was very pleasant and seemed willing to work with Will and us through this transition period.

When I picked him up on Wednesday he said he only put his head down once. I told him he really can't do that because that tells the teacher, "I'm not listening to you". Then he proceeded to tell me it was only after his assignment was complete that he put his head down. After a bit more probing, I found out that the other students were reading their library books after completing their assignments (he left his book at home).

Thursday and Friday seemed to be fine for him. No head down and he remembered his library book. :)


Poor Nathan. This has been the roughest on him. He went to school saying, "The best thing about school is recess!" Then it rained for two days. No recess on the playground. Then there was a hole in the plastic slide. No recess on the playground. Finally, on Friday, his class was allowed on the playground, but not on the slide area.

Monday was not a happy day for him. Tuesday I got a note from his teacher saying he is struggling following directions.Wednesday he "clipped up"! Thursday and Friday he "clipped up" and then back down. So he still ended on "green". I received another note from his teacher on Friday  - same reason.

It probably doesn't help that he has chosen to go by his legal name "Jonathan". He's not used to hearing that (unless he's in trouble).  I wrote "Nathan" on all his school supplies, so I had to go back and add the "Jo" to everything.  Now all of his supplies say, "JoNathan".  I've seen him write his name that way on a few papers last week - lol. He'll get it. :)

Friday he was in tears again. "I'm never ever ever ever going back to that school again! Everybody clips up and I clip down."

Just a background on Nathan, he does struggle with paying attention and following directions the first time. I wonder if it's because he couldn't hear well as a baby/toddler and just got used to being in his own world and tuning everything out. Will out-grew being in his own world around age 8, so I'm hopeful we'll see Nathan start paying more attention this next year.

Nathan and I had a nice talk about how he can try to pay attention better. I told him that when he hears his teacher he needs to "pause his brain" to listen and obey just like he pauses a video game to listen and obey. He snuggled in my lap while we talked and he finally calmed down. We talked about new rules and getting used to being in a class with lots of kids.  I told him that he was not in trouble, but that he did need to really practice paying attention and following directions the first time. He admitted that he could do a better job and would try.

Today... Monday of Week 2 ...

Everyone finished their chores and was ready to go early. We had a little pep-talk about listening and obeying on the way to school. All three were in a pleasant mood going into the school building.  I pray today will go well for all of them. 

I love my sweet boys.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Planetbox Lunch at School

Now that the boys are going to public school, they needed lunch boxes. I will save you the details of me scouring the internet for the "perfect" box and just say that I concluded with the PlanetBox Rover.

Here's a look at what they packed for their first day of school (clockwise): red grapes, Hormel Natural Choice Smoked Ham rolls, baby carrots with ranch dip, graham crackers, and 15 semi-sweet chocolate chips to fill the dessert section. 

Believe it or not, they are THRILLED about their lunch boxes!  I like it because there aren't any little baggies to deal with. It's dishwasher safe and being stainless steel - it will last forever!

At the end of the day, there were three "thumbs-up" on the lunchbox... one from each boy!

There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are to items we have chosen because we like them.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Public School Day Two: The Morning of

Day 2 started off pretty well, although the boys were pretty sleepy as they sat down to breakfast:

Will (5th grade): I didn't get enough rest. I might fall asleep in class again.
Me: Then we need try getting in bed earlier tonight.
Will: 7:30 sounds good to me.

I soaked my waffle batter last night, stirred it up this morning, and fried some waffles for them. Jeff and I had eggs with leftover sausage (although we both ate out of the pan because I didn't have time to plate our food. LOL! Plus, we are having our dining room tiled this week and we don't have a table to sit at anyway).

Clothes were picked out (and ironed! Go Mom!) last night.  Nathan picked out a collared polo and some khaki pants. He said he wanted to look handsome.  (Glad he's giving today another try with a good attitude)

The boys made their lunches last night so they were ready to go this morning. I prepared their snacks this morning (apples and a little bottle of water).

The boys had time to unload the dishwasher and pick up their clothes in their bedroom. Two out of three boys cleared their breakfast places, too!

We were at school on time and I walked Witt in for the last time.  Then I quickly ran upstairs to make sure Nathan made it to his class (he has a bad habit of wondering, but he was there pulling out his binder).

Now I am home, with the tile guys, drinking my coffee, making records of this life-changing event called public school.

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The Results are In

The first day of public school is now over. Here are the results:

Witt (Kindergarten)

He only had a half-day. He was neither excited nor upset about his day. Here's what he told me he did in the 4 hours he was there:

I saw the art room, the place where we eat, the princetaple (Principal) - we talked to him for a while.  We ate lunch and had PE. I learned to sit on the black line. We also got to stand on the rug. Someone stood on the red light, someone stood on the grapes, someone stood on the... (several different pictures).  We watched tv. Elmo and (pause) Barney (said in a disgusted voice!). Then I learned where I will wait for you to pick me up. 
When do my brothers come home? What can I do when we get home? Can I have a dessert? Can I play video games?  

Nathan (2nd grade) 

Full day of school. When I picked him up, I could see it all over his face that he did NOT have an enjoyable day.

The PE teacher sounded mean in her voice. We didn't play games. We had to do a meet-and-greet. I didn't like it very much. We didn't have recess either!
(Almost in tears:) I don't think I'm ready for this school. (break my heart!)
 (So I asked about math... he likes math.) Yes, we had math. But I didn't like their kind of math. They had too many words mixed in with the numbers. I like our home math. (I honestly don't know what he's talking about here because we did word problems ALL THE TIME.) 
(I told him that today was not a typical day. PE would get more exciting and recess would come when there wasn't rain. Then I asked him if he wanted some frozen yogurt. He was feeling a little better after that.)  :)

Will (5th grade) 
Full day of school. Relaxed with a grin on his face when I picked him up. Here's what he had to say:
(if you know Will, then you are quite aware that he starts everything with "well...")
I had a good day. I remembered some of the kids from my Kindergarten class. We spent our morning getting our binders ready for the school year. That lasted until 10:00! We had a meet-and-greet in PE. We went to music. I have some papers for you to fill out - you can go on the internet to take care of them. I ate lunch and I heard some mumbling from someone that they wished they had a lunchbox like mine. We had snack time.
 ME: What? No one told me you had a snack time? Nathan... did you have a snack time? (Yes) What did you guys eat? (Nothing) What? How come I didn't know about snack time? I am SO SORRY boys.
 Will, grinning: You've been homeschooling for 4 years... that's why you didn't know about snack time! 
 Back to Will's monologue...
We switched classes and in the third class I fell asleep. The teacher was trying to learn everyone's names and when he finally got them all right, he went all crazy-like and woke me up! (proud of himself and smiling like he got away with something).
Then I met up with Nathan and waited for you to pick us up. 
Are we really going for frozen yogurt? :) 

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Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of Public School

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Monday, August 5, 2013

To Every Thing There is a Season

Ecc 3: 1-8
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

After A LOT of prayer, consideration, thinking, and going back-and-forth, we have decided not to homeschool this year.

When we started this journey, it was never our intention to graduate the boys through homeschool. We always took our decision making year by year. It took a long time to be at peace with this decision, but I am finally there. I agree with Jeff that this will be the perfect year to give the school system a try.

This school year, Will is entering 5th grade so this will give him an opportunity to be a "big fish" in a "little pond". It will also give him an opportunity to make friends before moving up to middle school (assuming he continues in the public school system).

Nathan is entering 2nd. Witt will be repeating Kindergarten (only because he's a little young).

All three will be attending the same elementary school - which will be very nice. Easy for me to drop off/pick up and comforting for them to know that their brothers are in the same building.

The boys all took the news remarkably well.  We asked them what they thought about it several months ago. Then we would ask them again from time to time.  We allowed them to "overhear" conversations about the decision-making process. When if finally came time to tell them that the decision was made, they were all ok with it.

Will said he thought he would have a great school year. Nathan came back about a week later saying he wanted to homeschool instead, but it was just a brief little comment and he never brought it up again. Witt is fine with it, knowing that his brothers will be in the same building.

I took them up to the elementary school when I registered them and we were allowed to walk around and take our own personal tour of the building. Will remembered a lot of it, since he attended there in Kindergarten.  We saw the library, the art room, the music room, the cafeteria, the nurse's office, and the classrooms.  The boys were pretty excited after the tour. :)

And what if the public school system turns out to be horrendous? Well, I know I can pull them out and immediately begin to homeschool. Our cover school has agreed to keep our family "on hold" just in case. I'd need to order a bit of curriculum, but that's easy. :)

As for me, I won't be returning to an out-of-the-house job until at least after Christmas.  Jeff and I think it will be best for me to remain at home to help with the transition as much as possible.  I may even do some substitute teaching after Christmas so I can work only the days I want to and still be available for school activities.

Our family life is about to change substantially really soon. I think it will be good overall. Although, a few extra prayers couldn't hurt! (Please only leave encouraging comments)

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Speaking Their Language

Our oldest, Will, is a train lover. (understatement there, btw) When he was younger, I was always excited when we ran into someone that "spoke Thomas the Train" - the kids that knew which tenders and coaches went with which engines; the kids that knew which ones worked in the slate yard and which ones worked in at the quarry.  It just made the playtime easier.

As Will has grown, some "train talk" has stuck with us as a part of our daily conversation. 

When the boys are slowing down on a chore, I may tell them to "Keep chugging along!"

When Will gets upset, he may refer to "letting off some steam."

When it's time to leave the house, sometimes I'll say, "Let's boogy-woogy choo-choo train!"

Nathan and Wittman are more into video games.  For awhile everything was Super Mario Brothers.  One of the super powers is called a "Star Power" and it makes the player go really, really fast and nothing can get in it's way. 

Sometimes I would tell Witt to clean up his room with Star Power and he'd get a big smile and run around really fast cleaning up.

They are all also very familiar with pausing a video game or movie. I have recently incorporated "Pause" into our life.

Pause the lego building, it's time to go to the store.

Pause your thought process, I'm in the middle of a conversation.
Pause all screens, let's do chores.

Using the word "Pause" has really helped with transitioning between activities. They know that "Pause" means it will still be there - just as they left it - when they return. 

Do you have any words or phrases that are special to your family?

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