Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Well, I've got an update on the fight for Alana's health. A couple of weeks ago, I sweet-talked our local doc into giving Alana the ELISA (blood test for allergies), and Monday night we got the results back...and they weren't good.

Heavy metals: Negative (cool!)

Allergens: Significant reaction to cats (yes, that's a problem...we're still working that one out)
Moderate reaction to mold (so I'll have to start monitoring the air quality)

Food Allergies (this is where it gets interesting):
Significant reactions to: cow's milk, casein, goat's milk, lactose, egg whites and kidney
Moderate reactions to: hard cheeses, beef, gluten, wheat, egg yolks, green beans,
pineapple, asparagus, watermelon, nectarines, peanuts,
almonds, brewer's yeast, corn

Seriously, I feel like I've been hit by a bus. Life is turned upside down...again. So far, Alana's taken it pretty good. But she's already started thinking will she ever have a birthday cake again? Right now, we're still on the "bean diet" so we haven't made many changes (except to eliminate some of those moderate reacting foods...cheese, green beans, beef, our goal is to take away every allergen we can to get her to a healthy place. The cats are a whole other deal. Barry, of course, wants the cats gone NOW. I've discussed with Alana that we can take some time to see if we can get her healthy enough so that we can manage her allergy to the cats. It has helped A LOT having her in her own cat-free room, with an air purifier. Then we got another air purifier for the living/dining room. We've discussed having the girls keeping their stuff picked up so I can vacuum & sweep daily. And we're going to attempt "bathing" the cats 2 to 3 times a week (that's supposedly supposed to help keep their dander reduced).

I does help having a place to start from in our attack. We're waiting to see just how much we just spent on this test, and if we can swing it, we'll run the same test for Erin. Who knows...she could have food allergies that affect her glucose levels. Regardless, life has changed for us here, yet again. Our choices are now very limited...but that could be a good thing. A total overhaul will be a good thing.

Right now, as overwhelmed and lost and sad as I'm feeling, all I can do is place my burdens and worries in God's hands. And trust that He really does not give us more than we can handle.


On Saturday night we went rollerskating in Eau Claire for Girl Scouts. I was a bit apprehensive, having not been on wheels for a LONG LONG time! :) I still remember going with my aunts, Linda & Lori, back when that was "the thing". They had their own skates with big ole pom poms and everything! Of course, at that same time, Barry was skating at the rink in Eau Claire looking cool and trying to pick up chicks, but we won't get into that! :) And then we skated on and off during our school years...long ago. But we had a great time! (Although I'm STILL feeling the effects of muscles unused!) The girls totally rocked! I guess I thought that all kids had rollerblades at home...we don't have anything fancy, just thrift sale cheapies...but I guess I was wrong. We've never pushed the girls to skate...we've just made them available since they were on bikes with training wheels. Anyway, Alana blew away the competition at the girls skate race (Erin chose not to compete, but would've taken 2nd). They also had a "sock race" which Erin won. So, it was a very successful night for us! And I only fell once! :)

I was extremely happy with Alana. First of all, she was out there skating (not slowly) for at least 2 hours, and although red-faced and sweaty (yep, she gets that from me!) she was not out of breath, wheezing or coughing. Awesome! And secondly, it was good to see Alana kick butt at something. She has such athletic ability...just not a competitive attitude. Barry wants her playing league hockey in Eau Claire. He was even bribing her with a puppy if she did it for 2 years! :)

Overall, it was a very fun night. Although, if you would've heard the 4 of us moaning and groaning afterwards about all of our sore parts, you wouldn't have thought so. :)

Lining up for the sock (foot) race....

Erin with her prize...she whooped 'em!

Alana's skate race....

And Alana totally leading the pack....I swear she wasn't even trying!
And this is my feet. :) (Thanks to my friend, Lori, for the photo idea) Just to prove I actually did it...on my feet....most of the time!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Latest Layouts

All I can say is thank goodness for my friend Jenn's design team, or I'd never get any scrapping accomplished! I should be doing more for her...but I've been so buried in house work...and she has so many other talented gals designing for her, that I've been slacking a bit. Anyway, Jenn designs and sells journaling spots (the little cards on my layouts that have the date or journaling or other fun stuff). Her blog is here and etsy store here . They work wonderfully for quick cards, too!

So, the first layout is Alana at swimming lessons, June 2007.

And this one is pics of our fat cat, Zach. He loves to lay on his back, legs spread out. In these pics, he appears to be stretching...but he's actually motionless, just sleeping. He cracks me up!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

(I realize Easter was some time ago, but due to computer problems, I haven't had the ability to get my pictures off of my camera. So, just pretend I'm on time, OK?)

On Easter morning I spotted these beautiful new blooms in Mom & Dad's yard...even though they didn't just pop up this morning, I still thought them symbolic of the Easter celebration. Risen indeed!
This is Mom & Dad's new cat, Gracie...their first since Ben and Wolf died. She's pretty, huh. She didn't think too much of Cassie, though. :) She's pretty independent and typical "cat-like". Nothing like our Zach & TJ, so it was a little hard for the girls to get used to her demeanor.
Easter was a bit different for us this year. Instead of the Easter baskets and plastic eggs loaded with candy, the Easter Bunny was considerate enough to leave less sugary treats because of Erin's diabetes. The girls still enjoyed a fun Easter Egg hunt...this year, snow-free for a happy change!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

We didn't do anything today for Earth Day...too busy...again. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to come up with something.

Well, I'm blogging on my new puter. It's like the rest of my house...needing organization. I don't know what's what or where it is. Ugh. More cleaning....

Our new countertops are in...and fabulous! :) I'm not sure if they're really that fab (they were the cheapest you can get) but they're not baby blue with pink specks. :) My room is now about done...paint done, new vanity light, new bedding, matching furniture for the first time in our lives (thanks to spray paint on hand-me-down and thrift sale furniture), new curtains (all done on the cheap to be sure!). Now we just have to clean out the closet. Yuck. Today I worked on the dining room. Tomorrow I'd like to get my new office/scrapping room organized cuz I really need a creative break. Soon.

Friday I took Alana to our local doc to see if I could get the blood tests done (the ones I wanted the allergy/asthma doc to run, but he wouldn't cuz she was so "near death"). He did do the tests for me (blood tests so it wouldn't affect her lungs at all) and I'll get answers on heavy metals, allergies, and food allergies. Cool. I just wanna know...

Saturday I went to a seminar given by nutritionist, Karen Hurd, aka "The Bean Lady", before meeting with her about Alana. The seminar was VERY educational. Karen is a major science geek, and so was able to back up her nutritional approach/info with science & chemistry facts. Very cool. She put Alana (and Barry & I for support and our own improved health) on a diet of beans, meats/eggs, veggies, some nuts and LOTS of water. Zero sugar. Zero carbs, besides the beans. I knew it would be tough on Alana...she's a sugar/carb addict (like her mama).

Our new bean diet is going well. Alana has been a real trooper...compliant with all the food rules. She's been a little short on her water intake, but overall is doing VERY well. And she's feeling good, too. Her asthma is barely there. Nice.

Ok, short and sweet, but I'm too tired and it's too close to bedtime. :) Have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yes, I'm still alive...

Hi Grandma! :) Thanks for being concerned about me being MIA. You should be concerned...cuz I've been working WAY too hard around here!

Long story short...we've been toying around with moving to the country for years. Finally, I just told hubby that we should just get the house ready to sell and see what happens. Knowing how we are, I knew that we'd need to just set a date and shoot for it. Wanting to beat the May busyness, I set an open house date of April 18. Yes, that's this Saturday. And no, we will NOT be ready. :) Now I'm shooting for next Saturday, but Barry still won't let me give the realtor a date. So, we'll see.

We've done so much work and I still feel like we have months of work left ahead of us. We have a split-level house, with 2 bedrooms up, and 2 down. The girls had be sharing the other upstairs room (it was a tight fit, being only 10x11). So, both girls agreed to move to separate bedrooms downstairs....and I'd have to move my office/scraproom up from the basement (yep, lots and lots of STUFF!) I kept the downstairs bedrooms the same color, but I did touch up the paint job. I had to completely paint the upstairs bedrooms (and we're still not done with the vanity area of our room). The basement family still needs to be painted...huge job....and we really should paint the living/dining room, but I'm not sure if Barry will go for it. Or we just may run out of steam. :)

New kitchen countertops are in our garage waiting for us to install. I'm super excited about that! Our current countertops are baby blue with pink flecks. Seriously. I ordered a neutral brown/black granite-looking one. Now our marriage just has to survive the installation. :) Oh, and we got a new (used) smaller dining room table to take up less space, and we were forced into new living room couches (can you say cat pee?) It wasn't TJ's fault...he had a really bad bladder infection. Anyway....

We've also suffered a minor crisis in our lives. Alana has always had a weaker respiratory system, but lately seemed to be wheezing and coughing more. When we started tearing up our dust-filled house and painting, it got really bad. So bad that Barry called and made an appointment for her to see an allergy doctor. I went in prepared and educated. I knew what tests I wanted done. I'm positive that she has allergies and allergy-induced asthma. I also believe that it's the allergies causing her ADD symptoms. Anyway, this doctor did, in fact, diagnos her with asthma...but refused to test for allergies. Instead, he insisted on her taking oral steroids, inhaled steroids, and a "rescue" inhaler. When I challenged him, he quickly (and rudely) dismissed me. Big mistake, Dude. So, I played along til the end of the appointment and gave him one last shot. I asked him, after all of this medication got her stablized, how were we going to address the root problem causing the inflamation. He looked at me like I was an idiot and says, "That's what the steroids are for". So, he wants to ignore the root problem and just treat her with drugs that can do serious damage? No way.

So, now I'm on a mission. Friday I see our local doc, who my lab tech friend says should give me the testing I want (allergies, heavy metals, etc). At least with that info and can make major movement towards solving the main problem (aka, if she's allergic to dairy, and that's what's causing her inflammation, and therefor, her asthma, if I cut her off of dairy I should solve most of the problems...WITHOUT steroids). And on Saturday I go see the "bean lady". She's a nutritionist who can do more good than most doctors...she helped Barry a couple of years ago...until he went off the diet. :)

So, that's my life right now. Lots of cleaning, painting, purging, moving furniture (yes, my back has been out for a couple of weeks) and stressing about Alana. Fun times. Right now I could care less if we move! If we get done with this house I'll be happy! :)

Oh...and if you've made it this far...another reason for my long absence is our computer issues. Remember something happened and I had to do my posting on Barry's work laptop cuz my desktop was messed up for some reason? Well, his laptop died. By the time it was replaced, I was too busy with the house to type. When we moved my desktop to it's new home, it refused to turn on. Nice. It has all of my thousands of pictures...and the only way I have to download those off of my camera (not to mention all of my faves and links and stuff). Ugh. So, we're gonna have to spring for a new laptop. Yuck. Anyway, just wanted to give you my other excuse! :)