Thursday, 20 October 2016


How're we doing lately?

Foot has been hurting for over a year. Got in to the VA last month; they promised another appointment to be fit for insoles, but we haven't heard from them yet. Works part time for the Post Office, delivering mail. It's a good job and he doesn't mind it most days.

I lost 5 pounds on our vacation, and a couple more since then. Not sure exactly. To put a number on it, I was 265 after Ruth was born, and am now 223. Went down a single dress size. (That one boggles my mind, but anyway.) I have been focusing on no snacks, and smaller portions at table with no seconds. I feel good most of the time, and am energetic (thanks to my daily 2 cups of coffee), but not very strong. I've been knitting (washcloths), teaching school (at home), and generally trying to ignore politics and other depressing things.

Heard Bill Gaither say the best way to have a career in music is to go to college.  Took GED classes for 2 weeks, passed the exams, and then studied another 2 weeks before taking the ACT. Got a 27 on the ACT, which is apparently good, and started looking at colleges. Applied at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, College of the Ozarks in Missouri, and has had some contact with Liberty University in Virginia (looking at their online school). Last night she got a call from JBU that she was accepted. That was her first choice, but there is still a big IF of finances (and a little audition for the music program). So we are waiting and trusting God on that score. She has also been working part time for a friend, and is hoping to save enough for a newer car before college starts in the Fall.

What a do-er! She teaches a few subjects every day, keeps us all on schedule, and is learning for herself as well. Apart from bookwork she is also learning to decorate cakes (thanks for all those magazines, Mom!), crochet, and sew. She washes dishes faster than I ever could, grooms the Poodle, and keeps the dining room clean and decorated for each season. She got the Serger to work! She made a cape dress pattern for me! She just blows my mind. Naysha has been going to the local Beachy Mennonite church for a couple of months now, and is starting to figure out who is related to whom and so forth. The girls all went to revival meetings last week, and learned some stuff and had some discussion afterwards with each other and their parents.

13 years old, and as tall as I am. Still eats like a horse. Doesn't take himself as seriously as he did at 3, but still thinks a lot. He reads fast and fairly well. Is interested in Fantasy/SciFi. He read The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, and has started on The Two Towers. He's learning a lot about mechanic-ing by helping Bob; he enjoys power tools.

As tall as Riah, but thinner. He is more thoughtful, and will often ask if I need anything done. He's reading much better now. Still really wants a Cocker Spaniel, but is willing to work with Cookie. He's doing really well in school.

Growing up faster than she wants to. Very sociable. Smart. Has a different way of looking at things and so often finds herself at odds with her teachers. Has learned to crochet and wants to sew. Inspired the whole family to learn cursive handwriting.

Still hasn't "got" reading. Thinks everything is boring, because Math is too easy and everything else is too hard. Has a beautiful giggle. Broke the filling off his chipped front tooth yesterday.

My sidekick. He's young for his age and checks in with me frequently. Has begun school in earnest and is doing brilliantly. When he manages to sit right side up. He's very affectionate and silly and wiggly and everything a 6 year old ought to be. The older ones complain of him following them, and he complains of being followed by Daniel.

More independent than Elijah, but still quite close to me. He is pale no matter how much he plays outside, but isn't anemic (had him tested last year). Eats better than he used to. Has learned to write his name, and various preschool stuff.

So bossy! If you tell her "no" she will shake her finger in your face and declare "In a minute!" She has learned to use full sentences. She keeps us all laughing and loving. She likes kisses and hugs and changing clothes.

Is in heat and it stinks! No boy poodle to be found. :(

Ok, time's up.

hey, I wrote a poem

Words, words, words!
Rattle in my head
Words, words, words
which must be said
words make me want to shout
words must be let out
words are full of meaning
words of hurt and healing
words to offer friendship
words to explain myself
words that can bring kinship
words can close me off
words that I read
words that I sing
words that are said
words in my head
my thoughts are always full
of words!

Friday, 9 September 2016


I have lots of stuff on my mind, by turns, but haven't made the effort to write them down.
On our recent road trip I discovered strong urges to record what happened, and made a few notes on my phone.

Anyway, since LAST YEAR...

Bob did pass the stone after the home remedy. Still hasn't done anything about the gallstones. For the last 8 months he's been having terrible pain in one foot, and will get to a podiatrist in October. I would complain about the VA, but maybe it's all doctors now?

I have been wheat and peanut free for quite a while now. Did have an episode of allergy/asthma/sinus infection/???? this spring; tried a few different pills, and worked through it. Had a few days of it at the beginning of our trip; cleared up in Montana, and fogged up again on the way home.

Will I start blogging again? who knows. There are a lot of changes going on, with Taryn growing up and, dare I say it? Maybe I'm growing up, too.

So, time to get to work.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

catch up

It has been far too long. After that detailed post on my health, this will be a big jumble, but that's how it goes.

With the elimination diet, all I noticed troubling me was milk, so I added back everything else. But then after a week or so I started feeling chokey again, so I started over. I didn't cut coffee, cocoa, or corn this time, and it went a lot easier. After a few days I noticed that I felt so much better all over. But then I made a birthday cake, and some other incidents, and I ended up with bronchitis. Went to the doctor after several days of gasping for breath, and got steroids and an inhaler.

Long story short, I've decided that wheat makes me ache in my joints and also makes my coughing/sinuses worse. Milk just upsets my stomach a bit.

Taryn's allergy doctor retired in December, being about 80 yrs old, but her partner kept all existing patients. I asked about getting tested and was told no new patients on our (military) insurance. The only other allergist on the network is plumb on the other end of NWA's long, skinny metroplex. I got an appointment there, and finally went Wednesday.

They decided to do the children's test, which has groups of the most common allergens and is tested on the arms. Well. The "control" prick of straight histamine didn't cause a reaction, and the only thing that did within the test time was ragweed, which is only in season August/September. So I'm thinking it isn't working and should be redone. They were going to do more pricks on my upper arm, but my mouth and chin started itching so they didn't. She prescribed Singulair and told me to come back in Sept. THEN, as I got in the car to leave, suddenly two more spots got red on my arm. I called to ask what was where, so I could tell what caused the reactions. Wheat was small, and slightly larger was peanuts. Oh, dear. As you may know, peanut butter is one of the 4 food groups in our house.

So, while I still have my doubts about the efficacy of the test, I will try a wheat and nut-free diet for a while and see what happens. And take the pills if I need to.

Wednesday night Bob didn't go to bed because he had a belly ache. At 4am Thursday I woke to the sound of him moaning in the bathroom. Now, he has had episodes before of gut pain so bad he passes out, and it usually goes away before long. So I dabbed him with a washcloth and generally got in the way until he finally woke Ruth up about 5. Then I nursed her while he groaned, pottied, and thrashed around on the bed. She was almost asleep when he shouted at me to DO something, so I called an ambulance.

In short, he has a kidney stone and gallstones, and we discovered the ambulance takes less than 15 minutes to arrive, and the folks at Springdale's Northwest Hospital aren't very compassionate towards moaning men.

I got Bob home just in time to collect Cedwryck and go back to town to have his ingrown toenail removed. That went well, but I am just tired of doctors for now. And just pain tired, as Ruth wouldn't go to sleep until 12:30 this morning, so that's 2 night short sleep. Bob is hurting pretty bad by turns, and doesn't want to eat anything. I gave him a "sure fire" home remedy of 1/4 c each olive oil and lemon juice. He says I poisoned him.The book says the stone will go in less than 24 hours.  We'll see.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Look what I did

 Okay, so I can't get the text above the pictures. hmm?
Anyway, I was web-surfing the other day and found this "blog"

The author there has many fun and interesting ideas/experiments etc. I browsed through and opened a dozen tabs of things that looked interesting and/or doable.

And THEN, I - I don't do crafts - me, did something!!! I had a package of Navy beans (which are white, by the way) and food coloring, so we did colored beans. It's very simple. 1 cup of beans, 15 drops food coloring, shake for 20 seconds (in a baggie or storage container); leave to dry on paper towel. That's it.
The children thought it was VERY interesting that I would do such a thing. They have had fun playing with the beans every day since.
I'm so proud of myself that I bought liquid starch to try the slime recipe soon.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

April 2015

For the past 2 years (approximately) I have had intermittent "difficulty swallowing." Combined with heartburn while pregnant, I supposed it was a sort of GERD, but when I described my symptoms to our pharmacist he looked rather puzzled and suggested I see a doctor. That's when I found out I was expecting Ruth, so it waited. My symptoms? Occasionally, at the beginning of a meal, I would suddenly feel full and rather like I was choking, with a distinct feeling of the food getting half-way down and hitting a burp that was half-way up, each blocking the other from going where it needed to go. My mouth would water and I just tried not to panic while waiting for something to give way. At least twice the only solution was to throw up.

Finally I did something about it. The same day I had my ear mole removed, I talked to my doctor about this issue. She sent me for a Barium Swallow, which wasn't terribly unpleasant, and turned up a hiatal hernia and a "ring around" the esophagus. So they sent me up the river, er, I mean, for more tests.

The other day (2-3 weeks ago) I had an EGD. I was put to sleep, had a camera pushed down my throat, and several pictures and biopsies taken. A few days later I got a letter saying they had diagnosed me with "allergic esophagus" and that I probably had an unknown food allergy. The recommendation was for an allergy elimination diet to determine to what I am allergic.

I considered just going for testing at the allergy clinic, but according to what I read, the tests are most effective when coupled with the experience of the diet. Plus, going is expensive. Sooooo, I am on the diet. No eggs, milk (or dairy), wheat, soy, nuts, or fish. Those are the most frequent offenders. To be on the safe side, I've also cut out (most) corn - I still allow a bit of vinegar and dextrose - as well as coffee and chocolate (since those aren't any good without milk anyway). The idea is to rid the body of all traces of whatever is bothering it, then to eat a possible offender 2-3 times in a day and see if it causes a reaction.

Most folks say it takes 7-10 days to get relief of symptoms; I'm on day 12 now and it may be getting better. Being the unobservant person that I am, I want to make sure things are better before adding back in any of the possible offenders.  I am writing down my experiences each day. So far I have lost 11 lbs. If it were only possible to maintain such loss! I'd be at ideal weight in 3 months! But I doubt it's possible. Anyway, I wanted to say this has been different for me than previous attempts at dieting. Mainly, I suppose, because it is for medical reasons and not for losing weight. When I'm cutting calories, it's easy to get stressed out and go ahead and grab a chocolate, telling myself that I can get back on the path tomorrow (or even that I didn't eat some earlier, so it's still less than what I used to do). With the allergy elimination, though, the effect has to accumulate, so I knew if I cheated I would have to start over and go through it all again.

As you may imagine, this diet is quite restrictive. The hardest part is not being able to just pick something up and stick it in my mouth without thinking. I can't lick mixing bowls or take the extra bit from Daniel's plate, or anything! I can't help but wonder if that's where the weight loss is coming from. But I have noticed a change in my stools, so I think there has been a change in my gut, which is a good thing, and probably helpful, too.

I did some creative shopping and managed to make snickerdoodles. I used a recipe from my mom, but with a few modifications. Instead of butter, I used applesauce with a touch of olive oil. Instead of flour, I used whole oat flour. Instead of eggs, I used flaxseed mixed with water. Instead of buttermilk, I used a bit of vinegar (I could have put in water, but the dough was thin already). I knew chilling would not stiffen the dough as if it had butter in it, so I just scooped it onto the cookie sheets and sprinkled sugar/cinnamon over the top. They turned out really great! Bob said he doesn't usually liked baked goods with applesauce, but he liked these. I also found an oatmeal cookie recipe where the only substitution I had to make was for the eggs. It was nice to have something sweet and munchable, but I don't pig out like I've done in the past.

I have noticed the last 2 days that I haven't felt so bloated and belchy and chokey. Today I was able to chug a glass of water without it going down in gulps. I can't remember when I last did that. So a couple of more days to be sure and then I'll have a glass of milk.

Forgot to mention that the fist 5 days I had a raging headache, was irritable and sweaty. I've had backache for at least 2 weeks but it was better today. I had been taking  Claratin for several months, but stopped that a couple of days ago as I'm very congested anyway. When I skipped it the first day of the diet I got very wheezy, but am not so now. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015


I'll try not to give a narrative, as I want to remember the facts!

Ruth lacks a week of 7 months, and her favorite pastime is standing up. SHe pulls up on everything and tries to walk by looking intently at her goal and flapping her arms.

April 1st we drove to Sallisaw, Oklahoma, and bought a 12 week old standard poodle. She is officially Naysha's dog, and is already house-broken, comes when called, sits on command (for Naysha) and is learning to heal, stand, fetch, and stay. She had been kept in a pen of shavings in a garage, so that makes the learning all the more impressive. She doesn't cry all night any more, but still wakes us up early in the morning.

Resurrection Day was a lot of fun. Riah and others got a Mario Bros chess set, and they are all learning how to play. Ced got a Knex roller coaster, and William got an Angry Bird flying swimmer. There were lots of books, water bottles, Bible covers....

We went to the Medieval Fair in Norman this year and got some new costume gear.

gotta go.