Oct 25, 2008

Have a moment to gather my thoughts

Dr. Strangelove (Sophie's Dermatologist's nickname) called me yesterday. Remember how I mentioned he casually mentioned that her rash could be from lupus antibodies passed on from me and wanted me to do a blood test? Well the test was positive so I needed to go get a blood test for Sophie. We don't know if she has this yet, but from what I have read on the net if it is neonatal lupus the rash should dissipate around six months of age. Sun can make it worse and the treatment is the same as eczema. Thankfully, neonatal lupus does not increase her chances of getting systemic lupus erythematosus later on in life. Hopefully we will get her results back soon.

Here is the part that worries me... if she has neonatal lupus or not, I still have a positive ANA test. This could mean that I could have one of many different autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, OR it could mean nothing at all. Of course, now I am overanalyzing everything. I have been so tired lately... in my mind I am thinking "what if it is xyz?" when it most likely is caused by me not falling alseep until 1-3am and waking up all through the night by a 4 month old and then by a 3 year old.

I am trying really hard to remember the symptoms usually precede a ANA test, not the other way around, so who knows how many normal healthy people have positive ANAs without having anything wrong with them. For now I am trying to put this all out of my mind and try not to worry about what could be.

Oct 24, 2008

Winter is coming.

For the last week, we have fluctuated between needing windows open during the day, to actually needing the furnace on at night. We keep our house pretty cool at night and then all have heavy blankets, so it was time to dig out the down comforter and wash the duvet. I also washed the curtains, since they are red like the duvet and gave the room a nice vacuuming and airing out while it is warm enough to have windows open during the day. It actually snowed the other night, but it did not stick.

I baked a chicken last night, and saved the juices and bones and a breast so I could make chicken and dumplings today. This is a comfort meal that totally brings back great childhood memories. I had some carrots and celery that I tossed in, I would have added an onion had I had any on hand. It turned out well despite worries that I had burned the base ingredients... all I can say is THANK YOU super thick pots and pans. I totally needed a nice comfortable meal tonight. More about that when I can gather my thoughts and words for the next post.

PS. Don't forget to replace your furnace filters! We did that last week and it was so furry that it looked like a third dog and a couple more cats, flattened and formed into the shape of a filter.

Oct 21, 2008

What I learned today....

Orajel, applied to a wooden night stand by a toddler, and left undiscovered for 12 hours, will strip the finish all the way to the wood.

I am devastated.

***Updated with Pictures***

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So Bobby and I had agreed he is out of the will, until I came up with the idea that the only thing he will get is all the stuff he has broke/ruined/marred.... at this rate, he will get more than the other three. *sigh*

Oct 20, 2008

We found the TOYS!

When Matthew outgrew his baby toys, I boxed them up and put them in the crawlspace. Recently I have sent the boys on a mission to find the toys, without any luck... but last night I had Austin look one more time and almost instantly they were found. YAY!

I just wish Sophie had been as happy as I was, I am pretty sure the key was to not overstimulate the baby.

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Matthew was trying to comfort her, he nailed her in the side of the head with a teething toy and he felt pretty bad. Poor kid, he's seems to constantly be nailing her in the side of the head with something.

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Kisses from her teddy bear did not help either.

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Giving her more toys did not help either.

Once she calmed down with some mama cuddles and I blocked the flow of toys and limited her to just one, she seemed to like them a bit more.

Oct 15, 2008

Water Dreams

So last night Matthew had an accident and peed in his bed....not bad considering this is only his second night time accident since we started night time diaper-free a month ago. Bobby walks him to the potty before we go to bed ourselves and last night he didn't, I guess we learned our lesson there.

So Matthew wakes up sobbing... he says "I had a water dream mommy, not a dry dream". So now I am trying to hold back laughter and console him at the same time... but he keeps on it "my water dream was wet, not dry... it was a water dream".

Oh my, thank goodness he did not use the normal antonym for dry... I think I would have bust a gut.

Oct 14, 2008

And the verdict is....

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Sophie's facial rash is eczema according to Dr. Strangelove, I call him that because of his bizarre bedside manner, yet charismatic personality all in one. He was very sweet to my children, kind and gentle with Sophie and playful with Matthew who was with me... all the while saying that it could be lupus passed on from me and my antibodies and that I would need a blood test... uh, wow, that was a strong statement casually put. He also second a third guessed me when he asked if I knew what Cetaphil was and I said I knew what it was.Are you sure?? He kept saying... uh, yeah buddy... this is not my first encounter with eczema. Oh, and then he volunteered that it will probably get much worse, engulfing most of her face and turning he cheeks scaly. Wow, thank you for making me feel even worse about what I stated was my worst case scenario diagnosis.

So he prescribed Sophie Cloderm cream twice daily on her spots, it seems to already be helping even after just a few days. It is a topical steroid, which I am not thrilled about, especially around the eyes, but when I talked to Dr. Strangelove about this, he told me "ehh, it's only for a few weeks, she will be fine" ugh. Thanks doc.

Oct 10, 2008

Sophie O

I love this outfit, it reminds me of something you would have seen on Jackie O. Sophie loves (to eat) it.

Sophie O 2

Sophie O 1

Oct 7, 2008

Peanut Chicken and Rice (no beans)

When I was laboring with Sophie, my mom made me a Thai peanut chicken dish which has become my comfort meal. It is not cheap to make per se, but can be made with many staples, much variation and just a couple ingredients you may not have on hand, but can easily get on sale and store (I had a coupon for the coconut milk a few weeks ago, score!) and the few ingredients you need are pretty inexpensive. I use rice instead of noodles and buy whatever I can with generic ingredients and use frozen pepper (see yesterday's bell pepper money saving tip).

This is the recipe that is on the back of "A Taste of Thai" peanut sauce mix, I just added my own little notes, variations, and elaborations; the original recipe is in bold. My changes also make the recipe stretch farther without taking away any flavor.


Peanut Chicken & Vegetables with Noodles

The way I make it, it serves my family of rugrats with enough left over for the next day when it is even yummier

INGREDIENTS
1/2 - 16 oz box (8 oz) Rice Noodles

I use rice instead, I use Jasmine Rice and use 2 cups uncooked rice prepared by package directions in my rice maker)
1 tablespoon oil
If I have sesame oil I use 1/2 T olive or canola oil and 1/2 T sesame oil
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
not sure how much I use, about 3 large breasts
3 cups favorite chopped vegetables
I know I use more, I usually use 1 large onion thinly sliced, 1/2 red/yellow/orange/green bell pepper and 1/2 a second color bell pepper (for color and taste), 3-4 boiled diced potatoes, and whatever else I have on hand, tonight I added one bunch of diced fresh spinach added in the last 3 minutes
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce, or 1 teaspoon salt
I use fish sauce
1-13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
1 packet "A Taste of Thai" Peanut Sauce Mix, both inner envelope
s This is the one ingredient that I use name brand, all else I buy the cheapest available

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak Noodles according to directions for stir-fry.
OR prepare rice according to directions
2. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken (I cook the chicken fully before adding veggies), vegetables and Fish Sauce (don't be alarmed when you add fish sauce, it stinks like sweaty gym socks... tastes much better than it smells). Sauté 3 minutes.
3. Add Coconut Milk and Peanut Sauce Mix. Bring to boil while stirring and boil 3 minutes, if you use spinach, add it now. Add drained noodles and combine. Stirring, cook until noodles are firm but tender, if using rice, just serve over rice.

If you want to add a little more spice, you can add Sriracha Sauce either a couple small squirts when you add the coconut milk and peanut sauce mix, or have it on the table and allow the individual to season it themselves. This stuff packs a punch, so less is more.

Oct 6, 2008

Rice and beans, beans and rice.

RB_BR

I have been on a quest to live a better life, part of that was to bring Dave Ramsey's teachings into the family and the other part is to learn to be happy with what I have instead of wanting bigger and better. Living frugally is living smart, not living poor. Why live on steak and lobster and have debt when you can live on rice and beans and pay a few hundred more dollars on the credit card balance.

Today I had a light bulb moment when I realized that with small changes, I would appreciate my house a little bit more. When I was at the library I found two books that caught my eyes, one was by "The Queen of Clean", Linda Cobb, called The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter and the other was Mary Ellen's Guide to Good Enough Housekeeping. I recognized that part of my problem was lack of organization making my house feel smaller than it is and seem difficult to clean because it is cluttered.

When Bobby came home today, he came upstairs and found me in the bathroom with 100% of its contents in baskets in the bedroom and I was washing the light bulbs, he looked at my boys and said "uh-oh, mama has gone off the deep end again!" and he rescued Sophie and went to another room to play with her so I could finish my task.

I think I got rid of 3 bags full of junk, from magazines to expired products to the makeup I rarely wear, but Matthew frequently uses to "paint" my bathroom door with. I also got all the products off my counters (like mouthwash and detangler) and they now have new homes in my clean medicine cabinet or under the sink. I also hung a couple tiles that I have had for years that I planned on hanging after I painted, but we never got around to painting. My bathroom feels SO BIG now, I love it!

I am so impressed with how well Bobby is doing on our new "cash diet", he decided he wanted a Coke, but we have been soda free for a few weeks now, so he got into his change jar and pulled out some silver to run to 7-11 to get a coke, I asked him if I chipped in some quarters if he would get me one too. He calls me from Safeway and says "wow, it is so expensive there, I decided to go to Safeway to get a better deal". This is something I have been nagging at him forever, but Dave is right, it is a LOT harder to spend a dollar than it is just to swipe your debit card. I cannot believe how on board he has been with all this.

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Finally, a rice & bean recipe for you all.

Dad's Red Beans & Rice (this is a recipe I grew up, my dad made this a lot)

1 cup of long/medium grain rice
2 cans of red beans (undrained)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 kielbasa (cut into 1/4 inch disks)
1 T minced garlic

Prepare rice according to package, either in a rice cooker (my way) or on the stove top (my dad's way). Saute together onion, bell pepper, kielbasa, and garlic over medium heat. Combine cooked rice, undrained red beans, and kielbasa & veggie mix in a 2 quart casserole dish and bake until heated through on 350 (about 30 minutes).

I like to serve this with cornbread since all of the ingredients for those are staples.

*Money saving tip... get your green peppers when they are on sale and freeze them, that way you always have green pepper on hand. I wait for them to go on sale at King Sooper (our local Kroger chain) and I buy red, yellow, orange and green peppers and then slice them lengthwise and freeze on wax paper on a cookie sheet for an hour, then I put them into sandwich baggies and put in the freezer (1 pepper per baggie). Then I dice about 2 or three green peppers and do the same, again one pepper per baggie. The pre-freezing keeps them from sticking together, so you can use half a baggie in this recipe without having to thaw.

Oct 5, 2008

Great Dane Reunion

So today Isis had her reunion that the breeder hosts every year for the families who have purchased dogs from them can all get their dogs together and let their dogs play, talk about how much they love their four legged family members and for the breeders to see all their "babies" grown up.

Bobby was feeling sick, so I worried the day would be a bust, but the weather was great, the kids were great, Bobby did not complain (much) and Isis had A BLAST! It was the first time we had let her roam off leash (it was hosted at a small neighborhood park) and she was so obedient and sweet, it was like she was a different dog. Her tail was up, she was socializing with the other dogs and people and she made sure she was never out of our sight.

The surprise of the day was when we ran into the boys' old taekwondo teacher. He and his wife not only had a new puppy, but a brand new baby girl (like 10 days old). Master B. had met Isis when she was 8 months old and mentioned that he wanted a Dane more than anything and someday he would get Mrs. B to agree. :D Guess he finally wore her down! His pup, Bella, is ADORABLE and I look forward to some day getting another pup... of course this is like 10 years away, but I told Bobby he could pick out the next Dane, he plans on getting a male. I am hooked, I will never get another breed again.

Oct 1, 2008

Free Range Children?

The other day I first heard the term "Free Range Kids", and when I started reading more about what raising a free range child is about, the more I got it. DH and I always joke how different things were when we were children. His mom used to send him a few blocks away to play in the 3rd largest river in the US (Columbia River) where he and his buddies would shoot at each other with their BB guns (no one shot their eye out), or rode bikes down hills too steep for cars to drive up in the winter with a friend on the handlebar.

We have friends whose 10 year old has never ridden a bike out of fear. In my hometown Tag has been prohibited at the school, all because of fear of safety for the kids. Puh-lease! What ever happened to kids learning natural consequences? Why do they need full body armor to go out and play in the back yard (heaven forbid they set foot in the front yard without at least two, armed, secret service agents). Heck, when I was a kid, my parents would not even know if I had been abducted until at least 20 minutes after the street lights went on. And what the hell is up with 'play dates'?? Are parents now days so over scheduled that they have to pencil in little Johnny's play time between pee-wee soccer and his gymnastics class? That is what I love about this neighborhood, if a child wants to play with my kids... they knock on the door and ask if they can come out and play.... get this, WITHOUT their parents hovering behind them making sure their 10 year old can walk a block away without being stolen.

Now I am not saying we should air drop our children over a South American jungle with two quarters and a rubber band and expect them to MacGyver their way home, but seriously, don't you think our kids should get to share memories of skinned knees, chasing the ice cream truck, drinking from the hose, building forts in the woods, walking to the supermarket with a dollar to buy candy or soda, climbing trees, skipping rocks and wading in the creek, and snowball fights?

Now I am not criticizing anyone else, you parent your child the way you see fit, but I found letting go works for us, as long as my child shows they are mature and capable of making reasonable decisions. At the park, I have no problem watching Austin climbing a tree 10 feet in the air, or walking to the convenience store to buy treats for his brothers. When I was in labor with Sophie, I mentioned Christopher broke his arm on his scooter. He was so proud of his injury, just like he is of his appendectomy scar. When Matthew falls down we tell him to "get up and do it again". We still kiss his owies when he hurts himself, but we don't act like the world is going to end if he draws blood when he falls down.

Someday, I hope my kids can look back and tell their own kids how much fun they had when they were kids, and all the risks they took and adventures they created.