24 August 2005

smart ears

I have no idea if I blogged about this a few months ago or not. But, at his four year old check-up, Little B failed his hearing screening. A couple months later, we re-screened and he failed in both ears. Granted, in the midst of all these screenings, he'd had various colds and ear infections which we were told could easily contribute. He needed a solid four weeks between any cold-like problems and the next testing. With that, we were sent off to an ENT.

Said appointment was this morning. My father has some hearing loss that has been evident for many years (if only HE'D be seen!), and my husband and I each have/had at least one grandparent with hearing aids. So, I went very realistically to this doctor's office, truly ready for whatever he might say. We've had so much going on this year, it was just part of the melting pot at this point.

Our morning started slow. I was up late last night (getting stuff ready to drop off for a big consignment sale), and hit that snooze button a few times. Ahem. I had been able to print off the paperwork from their website, and had it filled out and in the diaper bag already, so we arrived just in time for that 9:30 am appointment. Or not. Can we say it was supposed to be at 9:00 am??? Oops. I've had various 9:30 appointments for a couple weeks and it was just stuck in the brain. A reminder call AND the correct time on my calendar and I still arrive late. They were very gracious, though, and saw us anyway (it takes up to EIGHT weeks to reschedule!).

This is a practice that specializes in children, and they were fabulous. My nervous little boy was soon at ease and a champ. He laid still while they puffed air on the eardrum, removed wax, and shined lights. So far, so good...now let's go across the hall to see the audiologist. There were special "ear plugs" for his ears, a thingy over his shoulder, obviously some sounds (Little B kept suddenly shouting out "phone!" or "train!") and wah-la-- measurements on the computer magically appeared. Move to another computer, do some of that again with chirping sounds this time, and more readouts. Then a soundproof room within that small room. The audiologist talked to him on a microphone and did some games and had him repeat words. Quite the process. I had no idea!

Now the kicker. The second computer he sat at, the one that chirped, gave a charted readout (I believe it was measuring the muscle strength of his eardrum). She told Little B his ears were "drawing a picture". Holy cow. He thought that was just too cool! He was so pleased with the picture his ears drew--he had some really smart ears! He never knew his ears could DRAW. Wow...

The audiologist was so kind. Little B got to take the printout of that "picture" when we left. We had to go back across the hall to see the ENT one more time, and while the poor man was trying to talk, all Little B could do was try to show him the picture his ears drew. It's truly two small graphs that are on the upper half of the page. That's it. But he is so stinkin' cute! We left and I swear he held out his picture for EVERY person in sight to see. I felt guilty trying to move him along while these people worked...they couldn't really even see that he wanted their attention as we went down the hall, but it was cracking me up inwardly. He was so proud.

And so was I for that matter. His ears were perfect. Very smart ears, indeed.

20 August 2005


I am a chocoholic. (Dark is best by far; I feel "better" when I eat chocolate!)
I have what I call a post-partum sweet tooth. It started with my first child. (As a kid, I didn't care for cake & ice cream at a birthday party; I didn't even like chocolate at one time!)
And I still don't need sugary things that often.

I do have a horrid thing called endometriosis ("endo") for which I've undergone two surgeries and one awful 6-month regime of drug-induced menopause (watch out ladies...that is the worst experience I've ever had, and we'll all get there one day; I just don't think I should have to go through it TWICE in a lifetime!).
I also suffer from migraines, which can be tied into the endo issues. Recently, my migraines (and endo pain) have been increasing.

My mother had migraines for many years. She never had endo (that we know of, and no reason to think she did). She has told me before that her doctor of long ago put her on a no-sugar, no-flour diet for a month and she actually got rid of them for many years (they recurred later, but I can also vouch that the sugar/flour intake did, too!). After two migraines last week mom and I talked about this approach some more. I decided on Sunday night to go for it. When I really decide something like that, I really do it.

As of Monday, I have been reading every label in the house for the words "sugar" and "(unbleached) flour". I've read up on sugar and even found a frightening article (see my sidebar for the link) about it being a poison in our body. My mom had said this same thing. It certainly rings true. So, the purging has begun.

My biggest focus is the sugar, but flour falls in line a close second. My goal: four weeks sugar-free. And, I don't believe in artificial sweeteners, either (even more refined than sugar, and plain nasty)! After that, an adjusted life-style that limits the refined sugars and flours. My family will be pulled along into this. With my kids, it won't be hard since I regulate their food anyway, whereas my husband is at work where my eyes are not. . .).

In a nutshell, while sugar is not essential for our daily consumption, it becomes a "poison" due to the refining. The less processed the sugar, the more okay it is (limited, of course) as it still retains minerals necessary for it's digestion in the body. The more refined the product (ie, "Pure" sugar), the more depleted it is and it takes from our body essential nutrients in order digest/process it. I am totally fine having naturally occurring sugars. I will even concede at times to evaporated sugar cane juice, etc, as it's not refined and super processed, though I'm still not what you'd call "indulging"; it's simply in some things I've found. If I eat out, I try to choose wisely and don't worry about it from there. While I'm not consuming it at the moment, I will certainly choose Sugar In The Raw, which is a Turbinado sugar and far less refined, over white sugar in the future. I've liked it better for a long time anyway. Makes me wonder what my body was saying?

So, not that you wanted a sugar lesson, but there it is anyway.
I have succeeded in 5 1/2 days so far. It's not easy, but I must say it's good this isn't about salt or I'd probably die (THAT would be my serious weakness. . . ). I have purchased special bread, bought freshly ground (organic) peanut butter and am unable to make some of my favorite meals, such as enchiladas, because they have sugar in the sauce (I'll defintely be eating enchiladas again in a month). Sigh. However, I am not starving, just adjusting. I've discovered that sugar is in virtually every item we eat. It just depends if it's fresh foods or processed foods as to what kind. Something else I've been slowly working toward is more organic food.

Yeah, for those of you who read my post on my horrid cooking, it's not fabulous, but sometimes I get it right (I did scorch the bacon this morning, only to realize it's cured in sugar, so my husband ate what wasn't too badly burned). =D I manage to prepare plenty of decent meals at home (but who says I have to love it?). I also have a grocery shopping friend now that gives me good tips (for another post another day).

My hope is that these changes will lead to healthier eating in our family (we aren't that bad, but improvement is always a good thing), and I'd love to see my migraines disappear and endo pain decrease. Time will tell. But even if they don't, I like these changes. For now, I will remember a quote that I saw recently: Health is a journey (I don't recall the rest, but that says enough).

18 August 2005



I was all set and ready to post about some stuff but at the moment I can barely recall what--I'll have to get back to that. I have just been stopped in my tracks by my precious son in the kitchen. I am on the sofa in the living room, barely out of sight of my 4 year old. He's been busy playing at the table with some bugs and green 'putty' for a while now. He often talks aloud while playing, and I tune in to check on him off and on. As of a moment ago, he was singing. Singing high praises to the Lord. He was singing praise and thanks and Truth. Just a jumble of things he knows and is thankful for. Good stuff. Stuff from songtapes we have, stuff about family, stuff about trusting the Lord. . .

It was sweet as honeysuckle and so refreshing to me. How much more so must the Lord be enjoying this.

12 August 2005

baby miracles

We took our daughter to the surgeon today for a follow-up visit regarding her brachial plexus injury. Earlier this week her physical therapist said there was nothing left for him to do for her. While the left arm is still showing a little weakness, everything else is in perfect order. Today, the surgeons and their physical therapist whole-heartedly agreed. She has healed. My beautiful, priceless little girl has had miracle upon miracle in my mind. God has been so faithful to hear the many, many prayers on her behalf, and He has graciously chosen to heal her.

Monday, I was thinking back to the day she was born, and how incredibly far she has come. Her small arm was limp and lifeless. Her fingers were able to grasp, and my mother says Miss C tightly grasped her finger within minutes after the birth (I wasn’t able to hold her right away, however, my mom got to be with her across the room. I’m so glad.). But, other than being slightly able to flex her wrist downward, there was no other movement, and she cried out in pain when it was moved around or bumped. Her collar bone was another point of pain. Today, I look at her and she grabs toys with both hands, reaches completely above her head for objects, and puts things to her mouth easily. No small feat for a small person with such an injury.

Today in the waiting room, we saw several other babies with the same injury. Two in particular are 4 months old—and at different stages of progress. One had traveled from another state to see this doctor. It brought back so many memories of the questions, the wondering. I could vividly recall being so pleased when she was raising her arm to her head, about eye level. I remember waiting, hoping, praying that she would begin using her deltoid, achieve shoulder flexion, wrist flexion, spread her fingers (thumb especially). How much I appreciate the ability of movement these days. For me and for her.

Our regular therapist and the doctors today all agreed that she does not need further therapy unless a problem arises. Wow. My heart stops when I really think on this. They encouraged us to do Occupational Therapy EVALUATIONS each year, but doubt she will really need the therapy. The team of surgeons would also like to see her in roughly a year or year and a half, also on an evaluation type basis. But, that can be at our discretion considering how well she is doing. Again, wow.

Truthfully, she will never be “100%”. But, hey, I’ll take 95 or 98 or whatever we are at. We all agree she shows weakness in weight-bearing (and we’re not yet crawling . . . so we’ll have to watch her on that), and her bicep is scoring 6+ out of 7 (it was a close call) because she wants to compensate just a fraction when lifting something straight up to her mouth. The only other thing they noticed was her left elbow doesn’t go completely straight, but it’s not a concern, obviously. It’s hardly noticeable, and she had to check it several times, comparing it to the right to see if she was seeing it correctly.

When the surgeons came to talk to us, they were a bit in awe, I think. They were so pleased with how far she had come. One thing they said was that if she was going to truly be 100%, it would have happened by the time she was 3 months—thus, this 6 month follow-up. But to have made it so far since that mark, appeared incredible to them. You could see the genuine pleasure on their face, the delight when she “showed off” by using it in front of them to grab something. While I was holding her in a way that kept her right arm down beside me, one of the surgeons double checked the chart and said, “I keep thinking, ‘Are we really checking for the left arm?’ But, we are! This is great!”

It is great. Her life is a miracle, her healing is a miracle. Baby-size miracles are still miracles. And I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest. I could weep with thanksgiving. And still may.

10 August 2005

little bit of lovin'

Little B: When will I be old enough to get married?

Me: When you are grown up. Do you have someone to marry?

Little B: No

Me: Why do you want to get married?

Little B: Kissing. I like kissing you all the time. But I forget sometimes. And hugging. I like hugging Miss C.

Me: You don't have to be married to hug and kiss. Just be my little boy and Miss C's big brother.

09 August 2005

Strike two

My cell phone died. Actually, mine died two weeks ago when I dropped it yet again in the driveway. At that time, my husband got a phone from work, so I switched my number to his phone while we talked about new plans for me. Last night I killed that one, too.

See, I’d set it on top of the car while putting Miss C into her seat. My back hurt, so I asked my husband to buckle her in, so I got into the front and waited to head out to dinner. Everyone settled, we headed out to dinner. A half mile or so from home we hear, “clunkthumpabump” and my husband asks, “What’s going on back there, buddy?” thinking Little B dropped something. In slow motion it registers with my mind that – wait – it was the CELL PHONE. Sigh.

I must confess that we were seen perusing the main road near our house at dusk last night like idiots in hope of finding it. First, me. My husband did a quick u-turn and pulled into a subdivision to wait while I rapidly darted up a few blocks stepping dangerously close to the curb, straining to see the median, speculatively glancing in the nearby grass. Then he offered to try after moving the car to a turn lane up the main road. Add what I was just doing to the fact he took his cell phone to call mine hoping to hear it ring while looking. Yeah. Pretty funny. He alternately ran and walked, and his return to the car was a neat little jog in the overgrown median.

We never found the phone. I theorize it went down a catch basin. Which, being a civil engineer my husband promptly begins to tell me that they usually have standing water so it would be ruined most likely. . . I interrupt and say, “Honey, we wouldn’t really check out the catch basin anyway, right?” “Oh, yeah. Good point.” He really forgets practical points like that when thinking work-related. At least he loves his job.

The down side is that I doubt I’ll be able to keep my old cell number now that it’s been canceled. That’s the only reason we still had the account active. The up side is that in a couple weeks I’m going to add on to my parent’s family plan. My brother is on it, too, and will be getting a new phone (well, that’s the PLAN, we’ll see what happens) when he gets back in the country in about two weeks. At which time I will get to take over his very nice camera phone rather than buy a new one. (That small lapse in phone availability is why our old plan was still active. It HAD been worth the extra month’s pay for half the service.) Of course, with my recent record, I might need to get the cheapest of them all and keep them lined up for when I throw them around.

05 August 2005

we survived...barely

My husband said the chili was fine--a bit like meatloaf, but fine-- so we sat down to eat. We like Frito's with our chili, and shredded cheese on top. Let's just say I had as much of those as I did chili. Meatloaf would have worked, chili would have worked. Not chili-loaf. It was barely passable. And, I'll be hungry again before bed. Guaranteed. haha!

about that chili...

Let me preface by saying that cooking has never, I repeat, never, been my strong point. No, I don't habitually burn meals (just on occasion), but neither do I manage to pull off decent meals every single night of the week. I require serious pre-planning. And, too often still lack some necessary ingredient.

Like tonight.

I had ground beef that needed to be cooked. It's time was running out. I really didn't pre-plan for this, just realized I wasn't in the mood for burgers. So, I suggested, hours ago, to my husband that we have either chili or spaghetti. We opted for the chili. Which required a stop on the way home for hubby at the grocery store for kidney beans and chili sauce...

Wait. "Chili Sauce?"

Yeah. That's what I told him. Now, when I'm at the store I know what I need even if I have the NAME of it slightly off. I believe "meatless chili" may have been a bit better for hubby to understand. I did say can, though, and that (I think) it's Hunt's I usually buy.

What came home with him were two cans of kidney beans, just fine and dandy. And a BOTTLE of Heinz Chili Sauce. I scrutinized it for a moment and decided it might be similar enough, so --plop-- into the meat it went. Not even close to enough. Maybe a third of what I needed. Pause. Sniff...

Lovely. Glorified ketchup.

You can see how often we've gotten said Chili Sauce...never. I added both complete cans of beans, all juice included, hoping to hide the burger and fries dressing. Didn't work. My "chili" smells like ketchup and looks like watery beef and beans. Ugh.

So, I'll let my husband taste it since he is the one who didn't step out to verify the ingredients by calling me (the cell wasn't working inside the store--he did try calling once). If it's that bad, well, someone will think of something for dinner. I hope.

04 August 2005

still summer??

I am very ready for autumn. It is by far my favorite time of year with changing leaves, sweatshirts and jeans, nippy evenings, and fireplaces (well, rarely where I live, but, in theory...). I love it all. Oh, and my anniverary. I chose fall for our wedding because I love it so much. We won't discuss the fact that the week of my wedding it rained for 6 days straight, it was warm but gorgeous on the big day, then it was roasting on our honeymoon...we took flannels and looked like fools. Oh well.

This summer heat is oppressive and makes me feel suffocated. Literally. My asthma acts up worse than any other time in the year. I despise sweating and feeling like my head is in a fishbowl (super high humidity). The electric bill is unbearable. The bugs are atrocious. The car is always too hot when we get in. Miss C's dresses are pretty, so I guess there is one plus.

Anyhow, my house was nice and chilly the past few mornings, thanks to cutting my air down like I prefer overnight, and I put a sweatshirt on. Oh yeah. The comfort and coziness. It just made me long for the next couple months to skim on by and get straight to autumn. I think I was supposed to live farther north...sigh.

01 August 2005

the quandary of my heart

This past weekend was Homecoming at my college. We used this as an excuse to spend a weekend away from home, though we got away Saturday morning rather than Friday night as planned, thanks to a deadline my husband had. It was good to get away for a night, even if it was shorter than intended. Homecoming was simply an excuse. Truth be told, we spent a total of maybe 3 hours at the school, long enough to see who was there, visit briefly and buy a couple shirts...then headed back to the cabin we were staying at.

Said cabins are time-wise about halfway between home and school...not too far from either place. Just a get-away, and in my beloved mountains. Some relatives have a membership in a rather old resort and offer us access to them anytime we would like. (Indeed, those same relatives gave us eight nights there for our honeymoon many years ago!) Not for lack of trying, but this is the first time we've been back. It was relaxing, somewhat rustic and very simple. All we have to bring is food and personal items, which is good. We did decide we'd be back more often, though. We need more weekends away. Hopefully we'll to go up this fall for about three nights...that's when the leaves are changing and while it's a touristy area, it's truly gorgeous.

Going to the college is a quandary to my heart, though.
The mountains pull me to them...I feel God's presence there, I feel alive and at peace there. But my college years were difficult and at times painful. Don't get me wrong, there were good times, too. They are growing years for everyone, me included. But returning brings old insecurities to the surface and I battle with them from the moment the car turns in. Short visits are best. They are always worth it to see a few people I love...this weekend, I saw one friend in particular I had not seen in four years. I also gave her this blog address, which I keep telling myself was a good idea. haha! As I said, old insecurities. (If you are reading this, Shana, forgive me for second-guessing myself. And thank you for being a sweet friend). Odd, how the minute I drive off again, I return to the person I know. And yet, there is something within me that simply loves returning to my alma mater...I believe time is healing, too. Perhaps slow, but healing.