Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Busy Days...

It's been a while since I just talked about life, boring as it may be. But I guess this is the stuff that I'll appreciate looking back on in the future.

Erin's health is good. We do a pretty good job keeping her glucose levels in the norm, but there are days we spend "chasing our tails". Days when we do nothing out of the ordinary, and yet can't keep her levels in range. It is frustrating. We go back to Mayo in March for our 3 month check up, where I will see about changing the care program we're on. I want more control. I want a more hands-on program...which would entail more shots and testing. But I think we are fully capable of handling it, and the tighter control will help to ensure a healthier future for Erin.

We're in the process of having Alana tested for ADD (Attention Deficite Disorder). I'm still struggling with whether having such a diagnosis is better or worse for her or me. And then I'll have to make decisions regarding her treatment, if ADD is indeed what she has, and whether to treat with medication. Those of you who know me well enough can be assured that I have, indeed, check out every book on the topic for my research! :)

Yesterday we cleaned house for the appraiser who came in the afternoon. We're refinancing...for the lower rate, and for lower payments. Life has changed around here. I'm not working...and our medical bills keep going up. And in this economy, the more we can save for a "rainy day", the better. We're just hoping now, in this bad housing market, that our house hasn't lost too much value, messing up our refy plans.

Tonight, Erin has a Girl Scout meeting, and then hopefully we'll be going to my nieces' basketball game. Morgan has been moved up to Varsity, so her and Lexi get to play together. Both have been playing VERY well this year!

It's been a while since I've shared what I've been reading...

Cheating Destiny (Diabetes) The author and his son both have Type 1 Diabetes

Delivered from Distraction (ADD) As with the book above, the author and his children suffer from ADD. It's nice to hear the info coming from people who "know" instead of doctors in their ivory towers. I think the info is more sensitive, compassionate and believable.

The ADD Answer

What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You

Homeschooling the Child with ADD

Honey for a Child's Heart

Essentials of Children's Literature

Charlotte Mason Education (Yep, I'm thinking of tweaking my homeschooling again! I just didn't imagine our days to be filled with "school at home", doing worksheets and tests. Miss Mason lived in the Victorian age in England. She was a promoter of a liberal arts education...music, art, nature study...and a high level of language, math and literature. She believed in short lessons and afternoons free to explore, play, do arts and crafts, etc. I'm already doing a lot of her ideas, but thought I'd study up!)

Pocketful of Pinecones (more Charlotte Mason)

The Wind in the Willows (I've never read this book...and started reading it to the girls last night. We're just in the first chapter and can already see why Miss Mason believes children should be reading these "real" literature books. My girls could probably not successfully read this book on their own, but it does indicate how we've "dumbed down" books for kids. The many "reader" books of today can't hold a candle to the rich language in this book!)

Laurainne Snelling "Dakotah Treasures Series" (she does Christian Historical Fiction...my favorite bedtime genre)

If your next question is to ask if I'm actually reading all of this, the answer is YES. Reading, studying, learning...that's where any free time I get goes to these days. As a mother, I need to become an expert on these things that affect my children. You'll notice that I haven't been posting many scrapbook pages lately. ;) This is why....

Have a good week!

Christmas Programs 2008

I know, I'm just a TAD bit behind on posting these pics...but as you may recall, my life was a little hectic at that time. :) So, here's how it went. Erin went into the hospital, near death, on Sunday, Dec. 7. We got home after 9pm on that Thursday. Saturday am was the rehearsal for our church's Christmas program, followed by the rehearsal for the for the musical at Friendship Church. That same Saturday evening was the first performance of the musical. (If you're thinking this is an insane schedule, you'd be correct. Now, remember that we're exhausted and walking an emotional and physical tightrope!) Erin chose not to perform at the 1st musical performance, watching with us instead. Alana was gracious enough to cover for her sister during the solo parts.

The musical was AWESOME...just like last year. Martha Konitzer, the pastor's wife and fellow homeschooler, has mucho mucho talent. And all of the kids who participate actually WANT and CHOOSE to be there, which makes a huge difference! I cried...I laughed...I rejoiced. What a perfect way to begin the Christmas season!

This was cool...while all of the "angels" were on stage, they turned off all of the lights, leaving just blacklights on. The angels took on a purple, glowing appearance. All of the younger kids kept looking at themselves in awe! :)

On Sunday, we had our own Christmas program at church, which Erin did choose to participate, thank God. I felt it was so important for her to jump back into NORMAL life as soon as possible. It helped tremendously being with her best friend, Claire.

I teach 3rd grade Sunday School, and every year my class plays the part of the nativity characters. This year instead of picking parts out of a hat (which I sometimes "rigged") I let the kids choose parts in order of best attendance. Alana had (and still does) perfect attendance, and chose to be Mary. This made me incredibly happy, as normally she hates to have any attention on her at all. She was a wonderful Mary...and even handled a couple of prop problems with ease. I was very proud!

After our church's program, the kids had a lunch break before performance #2 at Friendship. I was very proud and relieved that Erin chose to be a part of that one. She's so strong. Again, it was a perfect performance. I can't wait til next year!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blessed With Friends!

I've been thinking a lot the last couple of weeks about how important friends are in our lives. Catastrophy seems to bring out the best in true friends...and that has been very true in our lives. The support we've had with Erin's diagnosis has been a true blessing.

This past Saturday, Erin attended the birthday party of her best friend, Claire. Her mom, my good friend, Kari, had brought over dinner for us our first week home from the hospital. Her dad, Corey, had baked Erin diabetic-friendly chocolate chip cookies before Christmas. And for this party, Kari had checked with me beforehand about what Erin could have...she even made Angel Food cupcakes and diabetic frosting! Alana and Erin enjoyed the party...and I was grateful for such awesome friends.

Sunday, the Rennich girls (mom, Kim, Emily (Erin's age), Megan (Alana's age), and 10 yr old McKenna, invited the girls over for an afternoon playdate. Again, Kim was all about what she could do for snacks for Erin. The girls had an awesome time...and I again appreciated the friendship and support.

Last week Erin had her first Girl Scout meeting in a couple of months. It's cookie time, and they were going to sample this year's new cookie. Troop leader, Lori, and good friend of mine, checked with me ahead of time regarding Erin's ability to eat the cookie...and then wrapped one up in an adorable package to take home and enjoy at her snack time. Awesome.

And a couple of weeks ago...Friday, January 9...we took the afternoon off and went bowling. A couple of my awesome friends, Paula and Julia (a fellow homeschooler and supporter) had sent the girls a free game of bowling after our hospital stay. What a thoughtful gift! We had a great time, and it was a great way for us to "celebrate" our first month out of the hospital...a chance to celebrate life!

Then there's my "online" friend, Jenn, who gets to listen to me rant and vent via email! :) She's essential to my sanity!

I have more friends...good friends. And I am sooooo thankful for them all! Thank you, guys!

Here are some pics from our little bowling excursion....

Erin would always carry her ball up to this spot, then squat and set the ball down to get her fingers in the holes....

Nice form, Alana!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008 In Review

I'm still having problems with my blog...I cannot update from my computer. My computer geek of a husband apparently is really not such a geek afterall, and has so far been unable to figure out the problem. So, I finally gave up and emailed pictures to Barry's laptop so I could post from there. No problem. What's a little more stress and inconvenience in my life? :)

Anyway...here's a quicky review of the most important events of 2008.

Winning over the top spot late in the game (December) is Erin's week at St. Mary's in Rochester and diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. We are survivors and a weee bit competitive, so we are bound and determined to fight this thing. But it has definitely turned our lives, and sense of security, completely upside down.

At #2 (which would have been #1, if not for the diabetic Hail Mary) is our choice to begin homeschooling one year ago. Although there are many days I fall into bed completely exhausted, and a few days on which you should NOT ask me if I like my precious offspring, I do not for one second question my decision to do this. I love it! I love spending every day with my kids. I love knowing exactly what they're learning...and learning lots right along with them. And I love how we've strengthened our family bonds. And as Erin said the other day, what a blessing to be homeschooling through the stresses of learning to live with diabetes. Amen!

Ok, I'm done ranking events....the rest are just memorable and important to our family.
"The Golf Club Incident". Four stitches caused by a golf club swung by big sis...accidentally, of course. :) Wow. That was soooo not a fun evening.

After 11 years with us, we lost our first furry friend...Colin. He had fought his kidney disease for 2 years. He was a strong, patient, and very loving friend. We miss him every day. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do. We love you, Buddy.

Filling in the physical hole left by Colin, we welcomed two orphaned brothers into our family...Zach and TJ. They were about 4 months old when we brought them home in September. And crazy. Absolutely crazy. After living with a mature, calm cat for so many years, these guys were a sight to behold. We've definitely bonded over the last few months, but the craziness (and appetite) hasn't abated much. Our Christmas tree survived, though. Impressive. ;)

We've enjoyed our school field trips over the past year. We saw a children's theatre presentation of "Alexander's Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day", ice skating with a local homeschool group, Como Zoo, Crystal Caves, Pepin, The National Eagle Center, etc.

We welcomed Easton (Amy & Jim's son) into our family on St. Patty's Day (yes, we ARE Irish!). He's adorable. Seriously.

The rest of these pics aren't from any special event...just good pics from the past year that caught my eye tonight.

2008 was a very busy year. We've grown a lot, learned a lot, lost a lot, and gained a lot. We are a truly blessed family. We have wonderful family and friends that are priceless. We have a nice house in a safe and beautiful place, and a good job that provides for our needs. We have lots of love and faith in our Lord. Life is good as we say goodbye to 2008...but we hope 2009 is better! :)